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Page 1

Your Business. Your Community.

Les Wares Engaging investors Cover story: Page 3

Inside: • Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce Pages 18 and 19

• Junior Achievement Pages 20 and 21

• RRSPs and Investing Pages 22 to 27

Volume 6, No. 6, February 2016


February, 2016

ELGIN THIS MONTH

2


Les Wares: Diversify, allocate … don’t panic

Les Wares in his office at CIBC Wood Gundy in St. Thomas. by Terry Carroll

If financial planning makes your brain turn to mush, and you secretly find financial planning and investments about as exciting as watching a parade of ants traipse back and forth to a hill, then two things stand out. One, you’re in the majority. And two, you haven’t met Les Wares at CIBC Wood Gundy in St. Thomas. When Wares talks about financing and investment options – even when he’s discussing the challenges in the current financial markets – his eyes light up. There’s excitement in his voice. It’s anything but the same old / same old. “My job is never boring,” Wares says. For one thing, the financial world changes too often for him to find it hum-drum. He’s basically seen it all since he started with CIBC in 1998 as an investment specialist. The tech crash of 2000. The aftermath of 9/11 in 2001. The financial collapse of 2007 and 2008 when the subprime mortgage scandal hit the US, followed by much of the planet (see the movie The Big Short for a fun look at this era). The European Union crisis of 2011. And what Wares labels “the crap last year.” Early 2016 hasn’t started out exactly rosy, with oil prices continuing to crater and the drop in the Chinese stock market affecting markets around the globe. Interest rates are at all-time lows, and it’s not impossible that North America may see negative returns on fixed interest accounts in the future. If that happened, careful investors would in effect be paying the banks to hold their money for them. When GICs pay next to nothing, it seems as if even the most conservative investors are forced to be involved in equities in some fashion. What to do? Where to turn? It can seem like a scary world out there. Les Wares is pretty clear about what not to do. “The biggest mistake people can make is listening

too much to the news and acting on something they’ve heard on BNN or CNN,” he says. “Panic selling is the worst. With a properly diversified portfolio, people shouldn’t have to panic sell.” He’s convinced that two concepts capture the most important, positive things an investor should do. They are: diversification and asset allocation. As your great grandmother might have put it, you should never put all your eggs in one basket; and you should probably keep more than one breed of hen. If your assets are diversified and allocated across sectors, then the highs may not be terrifically high but the lows should not be depressingly low. Over time, an investor should be able to meet his or her goals. It takes a certain level of wealth to begin to allocate and diversify properly. The beginning investor would not usually start at a CIBC Wood Gundy office. That beginning investor would likely open an investment account at another financial institution or start a plan at his or her place of employment, especially if the employer offers a match to employees’ contributions. The most important thing is to make regular contributions. The high net worth individuals who are clients at CIBC Wood Gundy have a minimum of $100,000 to invest. (They may start with the beginner’s disciplined program and migrate over when enough wealth has accumulated). Les Wares is well educated for his role. He’s a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Investment Manager, a Registered Retirement Consultant and a Financial Management Advisor. He’s also a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute and has a BA in Economics. In short, he is licensed to advise or consult on it all … stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, alternative investments and so on. He summarizes it this way: At CIBC Wood Gundy in St. Thomas, you have a bank-owned, full-service brokerage that offers investment solutions plus financial planning plus estate planning.

Increasingly, he works with clients on a fixed-fee basis. He sees commission- or transaction-based compensation accounts “going the way of the dinosaur.” The reason is really quite simple. With commission- or transaction-based accounts, there can be a temptation for an agent or financial planner to recommend buying or selling to generate more income for the agent or planner. With a feebased arrangement, everything is more transparent. The word “engaged” is important to portfolio managers like Les Wares. When working with couples, he wants both people in a relationship to know what’s going on, if at all possible. He asks people about their life goals as well as their financial goals. He stays engaged with clients from the wealth accumulation period through to retirement planning, then during the retirement phase when income is drawn out. Estate preservation may also be important, as is advising clients to work with accountants and lawyers on tax and estate planning. Personally, Wares loves the fact the he doesn’t have to drive to London every day and his clients don’t have to make that trek to see him. He enjoys taking the occasional three- or four-day break at the cottage with his wife Betty and their son. Betty works on a regular part-time basis in a surgeon’s office in St. Thomas, and they stay involved in their church community as much as they can. The St. Thomas office of CIBC Wood Gundy is involved in the community with sponsorships such as the 2015 Black Tie and Pearls event for the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation, and the Kettle Creek Environmental Trust SpellBound event raising funds for wetlands in the Kettle Creek watershed. It’s all part of that simple word: engaged.

Elgin This Month Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley Freelance Editor Terry Carroll Sales Supervisor Geoff Rae

Advertising Consultant Greg Minnema Layout Janine Taylor Production Metroland Media Group

Cover photo by Mark Spowart.

Elgin This Month is a monthly magazine focusing on business and lifestyle issues and includes Business Beat, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The publication is available for pickup at no charge at news stands and other locations around Elgin County, as well as distribution to businesses and selected households.

Published monthly by Metroland Media Group Ltd., 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 2V7 519-633-1640 www.theweeklynews.ca/etm February, 2016

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INNES AS I SEE IT

Two thumbs down on pre-show advertising by Jim Innes At the beginning of the most recent Star Wars, I was bombarded with 20 minutes of big budgeted, psychologically seductive commercials, larger than life and quite spellbinding. Such a preshow is commonplace. Companies are spending millions to dazzle us, and hopefully mesmerize us, into buying their products. Captivated by the big screen and the loud HD sound, we are vulnerable to the brainwashing of marketing professionals … a caged audience conveniently pre-sorted by age and interests. If we try avoiding this by showing up just before the movie starts, when it’s already dark and everyone else is seated, we risk disturbing others wrestling for a seat, and chance missing an interesting trailer. When preshow advertising hit its stride several years back, I was the crazed one booing in the middle-row left aisle seat. Occasionally inciting a small but satisfying chorus of like-minded objectors. And I was not the only protestor. Other disgruntled movie goers have made attempts to sue their local theatres (none I’ve heard were successful and at least one still in court). And there are a variety of protest web sites.

Nonetheless, despite such objections, preshow advertising is here to stay. The income has become “an important part of a theater chains’ bottom line” (Forbes 2010). At the start of this media venue (15+ years), US estimates of annual income were $250 million. This grew by huge percentages each year. By 2013, it was estimated in another US study that this had risen to $600 million. According to one marketing agency, this form of advertising garners 7x times the recall as TV commercials. They were pitching, “When you look at the data, cinema advertising is what marketers call the gift that keeps on giving.” Surveys show that we are becoming increasingly accustomed to sitting through these preshow manipulations. And experience suggests that this form of marketing will gain the same admiration as the acclaimed and established commercials during big game football. These latter marketing tactics have become so popular they are pre-released on YouTube. Unfortunately, there is a psychological and spiritual cost to all this stimulation. And it has to do with being almost hypnotically manipulated into considering products that we might not otherwise consider. Though we may quickly snap out of our daze

when those enticing images stop floating in front us, we need ask how much rubs off. How much sensitizing (and desensitizing) happens? How much subliminal dribble have we taken in? Some ads are even focused on changing our values and priorities. Scary stuff considering how many times we take our children to the movies. I don’t want to overstate this, or lose you in some psycho-spiritual babble. But who can deny that our choices and ideals are, at least, a little controlled by various forms of media. And who doesn’t want to have some control over this? As I see it, a commercial preshow in a theatre does not give us that choice (if we want to enjoy the big screen experience). We are being used and abused…as well as amused. At the very least, let us be just a little annoyed. If not, we risk becoming complete zombies. Entertained into submission by this stimulating captivity. And in one more way, forced to compromise our integrity.

by Laura Pavilonis and Nancy Annett

been a negative consequence related to a piece of information, we’ll probably filter through it quickly – so quickly, we may not even notice it. So it’s no wonder that we can miss things. We couldn’t survive if we stopped and took action or fully processed every thought. Remember the first time you drove a car? You were probably very focused on driving, but over time you were able to be more on auto pilot. And now, you don’t have to actively think about driving as much.

Jim Innes is a clinically trained therapist and a priest at St. Johns’ Anglican Church in St. Thomas. Learn more at jiminnes.ca.

Business & Community YOUR TEAM

Missing the small things can compromise your success

There are lots of reasons that we can miss small things that are important to ensuring that big mistakes are avoided. It gets even scarier when those mistakes cause accidents. How can we possibly keep on top of everything? We have at a minimum over 50,000 thoughts in a day. Our brains can’t fully process every stimulus they experience. A brain sorts things into categories such as ‘important’ and ‘not important’ based on our past experiences. If there’s never

Continued on page 6

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Healthy Living OUR COMMUNITY

Pay for services in our taxes, or do without by Serge Lavoie

Welcome to February, the time of year for budget discussions at all levels of government, distribution of the first interim property tax bills and income tax receipts in advance of the April 30 tax filing deadline. Add to that Valentine’s Day, which is a kind of tax on love (apologies to my partner, who is worth every penny). Special this year is an extra day of cold weather, as February 29 is a Leap Day. After the joy, goodwill and excesses of the holiday season, comes the period of the Big Reckoning as people, organizations and governments grapple with budgets and finances, most often with money they haven’t got. An American department store merchant once famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” A corollary to that, probably said by all of us at one time or another, is that half the money we spend on taxes in wasted; we need to figure out which half. In truth, we are all convinced we know which half. The real problem is that there are all those misguided people around us who haven’t seen the light yet. When it comes to taxation and use of government resources, there is no shortage of opinion and, increasingly, of strong disagreement. With the resurgence of Liberal or slightly left of centre governments federally and provincially, the debate about taxation is bound to get even more heated. Unless these governments figure out a way to invest more wisely with the existing resources, while our resource-based economy tanks around us, one of two things will happen: taxes will go up or deficits and debt will go up. Or both. I guess a bit of disclosure is required here. I was a Liberal candidate in the provincial election of 2014 (I didn’t win). If that news colours your thinking about my views on taxation, debt and deficit, so be it. But regardless of my capital “L” or small “l” liberal leanings, I am also a long time taxpayer with only a few months to go before being fully pensionable. These issues matter to me, if only because I’ve come to that point in my life where

I realize that debt is no longer my friend. Here’s another disclosure: I’m not an economist. My financial knowledge is fairly sound but not developed enough to understand how our current love affair with growing personal and institutional debt and deficits makes sense in the face of the demographic time bomb we’re facing. All through my adult life, governments developed a love affair with debt, arguing that a growing economy justified the short term investments in education, health care and infrastructure. Banks and other financial institutions tended to be critical of government debt. How times seem to have changed. Today’s rationale focuses on debt as a share of Gross Domestic Product. In a way, that makes sense; it’s the approach used by banks to determine the size of mortgage we can support given our annual income. There’s a critical difference though. We pay off our mortgages on an amortized schedule and there’s a fixed asset backing the debt. Our credit card debt is totally different; no real repayment schedule and no hard asset to back stop it. For proof, look at your credit card statement if you are carrying a significant balance. The small print is likely to disclose that if you only ever pay the minimum amount, it could take the better part of 100 years to repay a $10,000 balance. As I see it, from my untrained-as-an-economist point of view, our governments are well into that territory. There is no longer any expectation that we will pay off the debt. We simply trust in our abilities as a society and as a growing economy to continue to service those debts ad infinitum.

If that is the collective wisdom of our brain trust, so be it. In return for that leap of faith, I want one assurance however. I want the investments we make with our tax dollars to be meaningful in terms of building a healthy future economy and society. I don’t want the dollars squandered to support structural deficits brought on by an inability to balance our books. In short, we should pay for the services we want, in our taxes, or we should do without. That’s my bottom line; one of millions of different points of view. What’s yours? Serge Lavoie has a 35 year career managing associations. He is currently president of On Track St. Thomas and Secretary-Treasurer of the United Way of Elgin-St. Thomas. He lives in St. Thomas.

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Leadership BUSINESS & COMMUNITY

Making the most of the February blahs by Doug Lester

February in the Northern Hemisphere is the month where hope and despair collide. The days are cold and dreary. The holiday bills have landed. Business is slow. Many of the hopes for life and relationships that a New Year intimated have not materialized. Those habits people threw out at year’s end have snuck back and whined so loudly that people are starting to let them back into their lives. It can be a depressing time of year. As a Self-leader you can either hang on and keep hoping for sunny days ahead, or face the reality of this grey time and become a real Difference Maker for those around you. It may sound trite but it really all does start with you. Bill O’Brien, the late CEO of Hanover Insurance said, “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” What he was saying is that if you take care of your inner thoughts and attitudes the outer weather will improve. Your best self is creative and resourceful. Trust that you are enough and that you have the skills and attitudes that your family friends and business need. Slow down in order to speed up. Breathe. Be a little nicer to yourself. Before you jump into the demands of the day take a few minutes to focus and open your heart and mind. You can lead from wherever you are. The goal of Self-leadership is becoming real and

embracing all that you are and all that you can for at least 70% of the variance of scores in difbe. Conscious leadership is not some vague collec- ferent workplaces. So here’s your chance to not tion of ideas but a practical and purposeful style only shine as a Self-leader, but also make a differof leadership that is conscious of Self and others ence for the people around you. Show up fully at and knows that you can only truly be successful work, life, and relationships. Regardless of what when others and the greater good also benefit. the groundhog says, choose to put a spring in your Conscious leadership is a commitment to personal step and make February an amazing month. mastery and genuine caring for others. All that sounds grand, but the hard cold reality Cheryl Lester and Doug on a blustery February day is that if you set your Lester—individually and toalarm a few minutes earlier you can find ways to gether—making a difference make home and work more pleasant. Perk some through leadership coaching coffee. Buy some flowers. Clean the snow off and development, writing, someone’s car. Write a blog on 29 ways to survive and speaking. Co-authors February. Plan a Leap Year party for the 29th (It of 12 Steps of Self-Leaderwill be four years before you get another chance). ship. eagletreeleadership.ca. It really does make a difference. About your workplace … Gallup reported in two largescale studies in 2012 that only 30% of U.S. Continued from page 4 your work and identifying your employees are engaged priorities. Set specific times of the at work, and a staggerThat’s what we do with everything day to check e-mails and phone ingly low 13% worldwe take in from our environment – calls and then focus on your priwide are engaged. whether it be smelling, tasting, see- orities one by one. You will find by Chances are the stats ing, hearing or feeling something. starting with a broad view of your would be similar in Over time, we have made decisions projects you will be able to identify Canada. The studies about what’s important to pay at- potential risks. Then by focusing on also discovered that tention to and what can be skipped each project one at a time without leadership accounted … making decisions more subcon- distraction, you will be able to comscious or intuitive. plete them faster by using more of When we focus on one specific your cognitive capacity. thing it tends to cause us to lose foThe message is you can’t see evcus on the bigger picture. On the erything at once. But by switchpositive side, this can serve us well ing your view back and forth from when we need to focus on a task in broad to focused, you will improve order to get a particular result. For the overall success of your work. example, for some if we turn off our phones and stay away from other distractions such as television, internet and any reminders about other tasks that need to be done, we can generally complete the task that we’ve set our minds to. But we risk missing an important phone call Nancy Annett, MBA, CHRP and Laura that requires our immediate attenPavilonis, MBA CHRP own Flashpoint tion. So how can we win? Training and Development. Start by taking a broad view of

The bigger and broader picture

43rd Annual

Honours and Awards NOMINATIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED

Pay tribute to the hardworking volunteers, athletes, artists, and heroes who bring pride and distinction to St.Thomas. Nomination forms and eligibility criteria are available on the City’s website: www.stthomas.ca or at the Parks and Recreation Department, 2 Third Avenue (Timken Centre), the City Clerk’s Office and Mayor’s Office at City Hall.

Large selection of Quality Pre-Owned Vehicles Come in and choose one today or visit our website

Completed forms must be received at the Parks and Recreation Department Office inside the Timken Arena, 2 Third Ave. no later than 4 pm, Friday March 18, 2016.

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For information please contact:

Parks and Recreation Department 519-633-7112 February, 2016

1207 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-633-0240 ELGIN THIS MONTH

6


BUSINESS & COMMUNITY TOURISM

Local business helps residents make healthy lifestyle choices this winter by Katherine Thompson

The weather outside may be dreary and unpredictable this time of year, but inside the green house at Family Flowers, a tropical paradise is waiting. For the last four years this family-run business has been helping people to achieve their fitness goals by offering up its temperaturecontrolled green house as an indoor walking track during the months of January and February. People are welcome to walk wherever they choose in the green house; however, staff have marked out a specified walking track. Five times around this track is equal to half a kilometre. The track is free to use and is open to the public Tuesdays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs are welcome. Children are also welcome and visitors are encouraged to stop at the mini-farm to see the goats and donkey during their trip to the green house. For the past three years, Family Flowers has partnered with Elgin St. Thomas Public Health to provide complimentary kits for Walking Club members that include hiking and cycling maps, a white board to track exercise, and more. Family Flowers even provides a sign-in sheet where visitors can keep track of their progress. Some people come every day, and over time they are able to increase the distances that they walk. According to retail manager Jacklyn Ver-

snick, the program originated as a way to more fully utilize the green house space during the quieter winter months. Most garden centres close down in January and February, but because Family Flowers grows all its own products, it remains open while staff are busy tending to hydrangeas and Easter lilies during this time. “The feedback from walkers has been great,” said Jacklyn. “People really enjoy that the track is dry, sheltered from the elements, has lots of natural light, is temperature-controlled, and allows them see flowers and greenery during this bleak time of year.” For more information about the Walking Club at Family Flowers visit www. familyflowers.ca or like Family Flowers on Facebook.

Our St. Thomas Office has relocated to 581 Talbot Street

Katherine Thompson is Marketing & Communications Coordinator with The County of Elgin

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HEALTHY LIVING SELF DISCOVERY

A generation gap?

t i t a k o o l u It’s how yo

“with the Millennials there seems to be constant labelling”

by Anouschka Van den Bosch

Every HR workshop, webinar and conference seems to have something to say about the generation gap. It is a hot topic, I get that. However, do we really have to give the millennials all these labels? Apparently they are narcissists, they feel they are entitled, they won’t stay long in their jobs and they want to create their own schedules. More free time than work time. Now working in HR, I have seen firsthand different generations working together, and the potential for some difference is obvious. I’m just not sure how different this is from when I had my first job in retail and my supervisor and some of my coworkers were clearly from a different generation. They would have been from the Silent generation and I was at the younger end of the Baby Boomers (according to some researchers, I am a Gen X). The Baby Boomers work, in part, because they know it is not going to be given to them on a silver platter. I wonder if they felt that I was being productive enough, that I was getting my work done quickly, or that I was a drama queen because of some of the personal stuff I brought to work?

Would they have labelled me or others from my generation as “lazy and unproductive?” I’m sure they did but I never really felt that as a label. With the Millennials there seems to be constant labelling. A negative labelling. Why do we call on the young intern to help us with our laptop? We are making an assumption that he is going to be a whiz kid and fix it for us. When hiring an employee just out of university, does it run through our minds, “Well you know she is one of them so she might not stick around for long”? It is a label, an assumption we are brushing on anyone who was born between 1982 and 2000. I think we need to look at things from a different perspective. Let’s just accept that today we could have five generations working together, four different nationalities who are male and female. And isn’t that exiting! Working together with a group of people, whether at work or at a church committee, you are going to encounter different people from different generations, backgrounds etc. Instead of putting them into their box, talk to them based on what their personality is like, how they speak to you and what type of communication they prefer. Make it an awareness that people you

work with are different no matter what generation without the negative labels. This article was inspired by the students that will be coming back to us this summer. In early January, I send out an email to some of the students that worked for us the summer of 2015. These students worked hard, and we wanted them back this summer. I asked in the email if they wanted to come back and if they did, I was offering them the position and would follow up with them in February with more information. Every single email response showed pure gratitude for the consideration and the offer to be able to return this summer. Not one student showed entitlement. Not one of them expected to have a job again with us. Not one out of 15+ students I correspondent with showed an attitude of entitlement. And that just proves my point. To me they are awesome hardworking individuals. Anouschka Van den Bosch is a Human Resources Professional and Certified Life and Career Coach.

GRAHAM SCOTT ENNS PARTNER MILESTONES We celebrate the admission to partnership of Paul Schneider and Derek Michell Paul Schneider CPA, CA, who joined GSE in 2009, looks after a wide range of clients in audit, accounting and taxation, from owner managers to not-for-profits. Paul looks forward to continuing to serve the firm’s clients in the highly personalized way that characterizes his client relationships. Derek Michell CPA, CA joined GSE in 2011 and now devotes much of his time assisting our clients in longer term taxation and succession planning, working together with our Tax Group, as well as continuing to assist many owner manager clients with their ongoing requirements. He completed CPA Canada’s In Depth Taxation program in 2015. Paul works from our St. Thomas office while Derek attends both St. Thomas and Aylmer offices.

And recognize the retirement from partnership of Bill Graham Bill Graham, CPA, CA, has of course been a fixture in the St. Thomas and area business community since the 1980s, and we congratulate Bill on his recent retirement from the firm. The personalized approach that Graham Scott Enns enjoys with its clients has Bill written all over it. The partners, managers and staff at GSE share in the culture of truly getting to know our clients, which makes our team effective in not only in helping with long term plans, but with many areas of advice when called upon. Bill looks forward to more family time (including his two grandkids!) and having more time to golf. Plus he will no doubt be striking up countless conversations with friends, so many of whom Bill has made during his time here at Graham Scott Enns.

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Vecchio and Gurr give back

Lucky Business After 5 winner Mike Vecchio was unable to attend the January 23 St. Thomas Uncorked event with his wife Karen, so he auctioned off the two BA5 tickets he won with proceeds going to The Talbot Teen Centre. John and Suzanne Gurr, owners of Gurr Auto, generously bid $60 above the face value of the tickets in support of the Teen Centre.

Chamber organizes lunch with 3 Mayors Our 6th annual “State of the Municipalities” luncheon is Wednesday February 17 at St. Anne’s Centre in St. Thomas with presentations by all 3 local Mayors. Our speakers will be Mayor Heather Jackson for the City of St. Thomas; Mayor David Marr for the Municipality of Central Elgin; and Mayor Grant Jones for the Township of Southwold. Chamber Members may order tickets now from the Chamber office by calling us at 519-631-1981. $32 per person + HST. Information is also posted in the events section of the Chamber’s website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca. Tickets for this event are offered by advance sale only and reserved seating is assigned with single orders or 4 tickets or more. Doors will open at 11:15 with lunch buffet service

Municipality of Central Elgin Mayor Dave Marr

starting at 11:45 and closing at 12:15 p.m. Once the buffet shuts down, the Mayors each get up to 10 minutes for individual remarks, followed questions from the floor and the Chamber.  If you have a question for any or all of the Mayors, you can send it in advance to the Chamber office, submit it at the event in writing, or take a mic and ask it directly. Questions can be submitted in advance to our general email at the Chamber office: mail@stthomaschamber. on.ca Members of our Public Sector Liaison Committee will review all questions submitted. We can’t guarantee all questions received will be used due to time limits, but we’ll do our best to be your voice on key and priority issues. 

City of St. Thomas Mayor Heather Jackson

Southwold Township Mayor Grant Jones

Boston Pizza and the new TownePlace Suites by Marriott will co-sponsor our February event.

Date: Wednesday February 10, 2016 Time:

Doors Open at 5:00 p.m. Sponsor remarks and prize draws at 6:15 p.m.

Site:

Boston Pizza 860 Talbot Street, St. Thomas Free Admission to all personnel from any organization that is a Member of the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce.

Toronto via Via

Megan Buchanan with Ron’s Auto Service (left) accepts VIA rail tickets for four valued at up to $750 from Jackie Van Ryswyk, Executive Director of the Talbot Teen Centre, sponsors and hosts of the January St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business After 5

Business Beat Table of Contents

Take part in our feature on Income Tax

Page 10 .............. Immigration Page 11 .......... Free enterprise Page 12 ........... Early planning Page 13 ....... Directors elected Page 14 ................ Income tax Page 15 ...... Business changes Page 16 ........ Customer wants

To take advantage of excellent advertising opportunities like this, give me a call at 519-633-1640 (ext. 222) or email me at gregthismonth@theweeklynews.ca March Edition Advertising Deadline is February 17th

February, 2016

In the March edition of Elgin This Month

Greg Minnema, Advertising Sales

ELGIN THIS MONTH

9


Chamber News Viewpoint

Immigration for a competitive Canada The preceding months have included daily discussion on national policies and activities on immigration, refugees, and local settlement. Local activity has been almost impossible to see, in comparison to the activity in centres like Toronto, but work has been, and is, underway to welcome at least a dozen refugee families here in Elgin County. The St. Thomas & District Chamber has been pleased to assist and support the activities of groups such as STELIP (St. Thomas Elgin Local Immigration Partnership) in securing services in such areas as language, translation and communications. All local refugee settlements to date have been through private sponsorships and none as the result of placements under federal programs. Another dimension of immigration and the welcoming newcomers to our country and our region has been receiving virtually no media attention lately, but it has considerable potential to impact business & industry. The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to join colleagues across our entire national network through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and release a new report, Immigration for a Competitive Canada: Why Highly Skilled International Talent Is at Risk. Our new report can be viewed and/or downloaded via the Canadian Chamber of Commerce website at www.chamber.ca

This report looks at our current immigration cesses aren’t standing in the way of talented people regime and how Canada risks losing its competi- coming to Canada and contributing to our ecotive advantage when it comes to attracting highly nomic growth. Highly skilled workers don’t take skilled international talent. For instance, the Ex- opportunities away from Canadians, they help us press Entry system is not aligned with business create them. Our economy depends on talented success, and the restrictions of the Temporary For- immigrants to help boost our innovation perforeign Worker Program are hurting many high-value mance, which is currently lagging behind many sectors across the economy. Here in Elgin County, other developed countries. We can’t afford not to we have concerns over the capacity of the agri-busi- have the best processes in place. As this report emness sector to continue welcoming seasonal TFWs phasizes, changes are necessary. (Temporary Foreign Workers) that have traditionally been required at harvest time. Our report notes that, Editor’s Note: This article was submitted at the invitation of the Chamber by since changes to the the St. Thomas Elgin Local Immigration Partnership and their Project CoordiTFW program were nator, Petrusia Hontar. announced in 2014, The recent world refugee crisis has resulted in Canada and its communities and requirements addwelcoming refugees, individuals who have survived as their beautiful and ed to complete what is prosperous countries have been diminished to rubble. Elgin County and the termed an LMIA (LaCity of St. Thomas have a history of refugee sponsorship. Local community bour Market Impact and faith groups have been sponsoring refugees for many years. CommuAnalysis), there has nity-wide efforts have also supported some of the larger Canadian refugee been a 45% drop in resettlement including those from Czechoslovakia (1968), and South-East approved applications Asia (1979-1981). Today, over 1600 people currently living and working to hire TFWs. in the Elgin and St. Thomas area identify themselves from these two ethnic The report also proorigins. Their success as resettled refugees has had long-term economic and poses solutions to ensocial impacts in our community and across the country. sure policies and proWhile predicting the future success of families and individuals that settle in the region is difficult, a Canadian study of the South-East Asian refugees from 1979-1981 showed very positive results. The study tracked the success of the refugees by measuring their employment, general health, and English language acquisition. In 1981, just after arrival, 15% of the group were considered successful by these metrics; 10 years later, the success rate had increased to 86%. These results are encouraging as new refugees are welcomed and settle across the country. There are economic benefits to the community helping sponsored refugees find suitable housing, furnishings, clothing, and food. Local businesses have the opportunity to access their education, skills, work experience skills, and international knowledge to foster economic growth. Working as a community, Canadians can help families feel welcome and included, encouraging them to stay and contribute economically and socially to the community. As Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce states, “Our country will be enriched by the contributions these refugees will bring to Canada’s culture, knowledge, skills base and growth. First and foremost, though, we must welcome them and make them feel at home.”

No one becomes a refugee by choice

Business Beat Published by Metroland Media Group Ltd., and delivered to businesses in St. Thomas and Elgin Country For complete information on the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, reach us at: 115-300 South Edgeware Rd., St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 4L1 Telephone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 E-Mail: mail@stthomaschamber.on.ca Website: www.stthomaschamber.on.ca President & CEO Bob Hammersley Accounting Coordinator Susan Munday Member Services Warren Allen

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St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce 2016 Board of Directors Chair: Dan Kelly, CPA, CGA Dowler-Karn Ltd. Vice-Chair: Robert Furneaux Gorman-Rupp of Canada Ltd. Treasurer: Mark Lassam, CPA, CA Lassam & Co. Past Chair: Ross Fair Fanshawe College Director: Ray Bosveld HollisWealth Director: Kathy Cook World Financial Group Director: Sean Dyke St. Thomas Economic Development Corp. Director: Brian Helmer Reith & Associates Insurance & Financial Director: Kevin Jackson Elgin Business Resource Centre Director: Phil Mauer Phil Mauer & Associates Inc. Director: Ginette Minor Alexelle Slipcovers & Décor Director: Joe Preston Wendy’s Restaurant Director: Bob Ward The Auto Guys

10


CHAMBER NEWS

Free Enterprise nominations open to March 31 The Free Enterprise Awards are the Chamber’s annual recognition of excellence in commerce and community service. Since the 1970s, we have welcomed nominations of businesses, organizations and individuals who deserved to be recognized for their excellence in business and community service. There are three award categories, and nominations are open now through March 31. The 2015 Free Enterprise Awards will be presented during the Free Enterprise Awards Reception at St. Anne’s Centre in St. Thomas on the 2nd Wednesday in May. For 2016, our date will be Wednesday May 11 in a reception event, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Ticket information and other details are on the Chamber website in our Events section at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca Chair’s Awards This presentation reflects service and contributions, including volunteer activities that have assisted the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce. Presented at the discretion of the Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors when events or circumstances reflect service or contributions of an extraordinary nature. Free Enterprise Award of Merit Recognition of those businesses and/or individuals whose recent or specific accomplishments are significant. There is no limit to the number of times that an individual or business might receive a Merit Award. Entrepreneurial success is the primary focus of the Merit Awards with consideration of other desirables reflecting on community, civic and/or social betterment. No more than 3 winners may be named in any year. Free Enterprise Master Awards Our major award. This honour recognizes businesses and individuals making significant, allencompassing contributions within St. Thomas, Central Elgin and/or Southwold. The recipients are proven leaders, as evidenced by repeated success in endeavours that relate to entrepreneurship along with community spirit and social well-being. No more than 3 winners may be named in any year. Submit a Nomination? Success, innovation, leadership, community

betterment and concern for social issues are all attributes of our award winners in every category. Choose from the 3 categories described above and tell us why your nominee should be selected. Our Awards & Recognition Committee, under the leadership of the Immediate Past Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, will review all submissions. Chamber staff may conduct additional research. Self-nominations are welcome. Individuals and businesses nominated must be active in serving the communities of the City of St. Thomas, Municipality of Central Elgin, and/ or the Township of Southwold The Chamber prefers not to use a ‘cookie cutter’ form for nominations but encourages nominations in any form and format convenient to the writer.

The following points & questions may be helpful in writing a nomination: • Describe the nominee’s relationships with staff, clients, suppliers, etc. • Growth, changes or improvements that have enhanced performance? • Are there any innovation, trailblazing or risktaking initiatives and strategies that have been developed or undertaken? • Describe any situation where the nominee has created new jobs or successfully fought to sustain jobs in our market. • Describe successes and achievements in community service, work with civic or charitable/ non-profit agencies, or volunteer activities • Has the nominee utilized conservation and stewardship techniques, advanced technologies, or developed programs to save, protect or enhance or environment?

• Name something that makes this nominee stand out above all others. • Describe the time, energy, resources dedicated to professional growth and continuous learning. • Details on measurement, practices and internal processes for customer service. • Coaching, mentoring, assistance to other businesses, individuals or organizations? • How has new technology helped? • Marketing successes and strategy? • Growth beyond local service to regional, national and/or international levels? 2016 Nominations Close Thursday March 31, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. For additional information, contact Bob Hammersley at the Chamber office at 519-631-1981 Ext. 524, or send your nomination to us: St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce 115 – 300 South Edgeware Road St. Thomas, ON N5P 4L1 CALL: 519-631-1981 FAX: 519-631-0466 E-mail: mail@stthomaschamber.on.ca Sponsorship opportunities? The Chamber’s Free Enterprise Awards program provides unique promotion and community support opportunities through sponsorship at several events and functions, and the annual Free Enterprise Awards are one of our biggest. If your business or organization wishes to explore the values and rewards on being involved, contact Bob Hammersley or Warren Allen at the Chamber office. Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsor opportunities start at $1,000 and include several options to build and position your community image and awareness. By being a sponsor you enable us to deliver and produce a function that has strong community value and casts a good reflection on all who contribute to making it possible. In return, the Chamber offers multiple promotion and exposure support to our sponsors in pre and post-event functions plus on-site recognition at the event.

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11


Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members

Never too early to plan When drawing a will, you (and no one Now that we’re embarking on another year, I else) choose who will thought it might be helpful to review the concept handle your affairs of the personal estate plan. In this regard, I cannot when you are gone. over-emphasize the importance of an up-to-date The choice of an will, drawn in consultation with your lawyer. For “Estate Trustee” (forwhile dying without a will does not carry the dire merly an Executor) is consequences some would have you believe, the extremely important. lack of guidance to family members and friends The Estate Trustee at a time of such emotional turmoil can be dev- must be an individual who is trustworastating. A common misconception is that if a person thy, organized and dies without a will their estate somehow passes to intelligent. The work the government. It does not – except in the case of the trustee is onerof a deceased with absolutely no living relatives. ous and sometimes The rules of intestacy (i.e., no will) provide that complex. They must certain people within certain defined parameters be able to work with receive the estate of a person who dies without a accountants, bankers, investment advisors and will. For example, the spouse of such a person re- yes, lawyers. It also helps if they are familiar with ceives a “preferential share” amounting to the first the estate as a whole, as well as the beneficiaries $200,000 of the estate. He/she is also entitled to of the estate. Some people, particularly with large a proportionate share in the balance of the estate, estates, choose an institutional trustee such as assuming there are children. However, this divi- a bank, brokerage or trust company. In any sion may not be what the deceased wanted, and, event, the trustee is entitled to compensation moreover, it may create serious legal and practical for their work, the amount of which is subproblems in administering the estate depending ject to review of the court. If you have younger children, you should on the size and composition of the estate, not to mention the ages of the beneficiaries, should some consider the appointment of guardians for them in the event both you and your spouse or all be minors. die before they are old enough to conduct their own affairs. The guardians can be, but don’t necessarily have to be, the same people as the trustees. The roles are quite differCredit Card ent, and a person with Processing to Help outstanding parenting Drive Business skills may not possess Success the business acumen required of a trustee. Within your will you Full Suite of Products Preferred Chamber Pricing can designate certain persons to receive mon• Ecommerce etary gifts. Examples • Wired & Wireless of such beneficiaries Terminals include grandchildren, • First Data Mobile neighbours, PayTM % ¢ % favourite (favourite lawyers • Gift Cards Solutions NOT), charities or on Visa credit on Interac Direct on Mastercard credit • TeleCheck® Electronic receipts with Payment receipts with receipts with other organizations. electronic deposits electronic deposits electronic deposits Cheque Acceptanc These “legacies” are The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and First Data, a leader in the paid out first by the Eselectronic payment processing industry, have partnered to bring you tate Trustee after debts exclusive benefits to help grow your business.Together we are ready to help you with preferred pricing and products tailored to suit your needs. and expenses are paid. As well, many people designate beneficiaries of personal items such as family heirlooms (e.g., my mechanics tools to my daughter Mary; my Royal DoulFor complete details, contact the Chamber ton collection to my son Harry). These types 115 - 300 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas Phone: 519-631-1981 Fax: 519-631-0466 of “bequests” can be Email: mail@stthomaschamber.on.ca www.stthomaschamber.on.ca by Monty Fordham

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made within the will or by reference in the will to a separate list or memorandum. The list should contain only easily identified items of personal property to avoid conflict between beneficiaries.

a common misconception is that if a person dies without a will their estate somehow passes to the government The very act of instructing and drawing a will involves a thorough review of your assets, liabilities and long term obligations. In many cases, personal planning tools can be set in place to minimize Income tax consequences, probate fees (now called Estate Administration Tax or EAT) and legal costs. These may include, in larger estates, the use of primary and secondary wills, the establishment of holding companies and family trusts. In more modest estates, assets may be placed in joint ownership with children, although this must be carefully structured in most cases. Sometimes, gifts may be made of personal items and evidenced by documentation, while the item remains in the possession of the testator. Of course, investments which designate a particular beneficiary, such as Life Insurance, RRSPs and RRIFs, pass outside the will and are not subject to EAT (probate fees) The process of estate planning should be looked at as an opportunity to review your investment portfolio, your fixed assets, the needs of your family, and your financial and personal goals. And, eventually, if it’s done well, as an added bonus, your children will thank you. Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly column for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and our Members. Questions, comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed Monty Fordham by Monty at his office: Fordham & Brightling Associates – Lawyers, 4 Elgin Street, St. Thomas. Telephone 519-633-4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail: montyfordham@4elgin.ca 12


CHAMBER NEWS Events and News of Interest to our Members

2016 Board of Directors elected As is customary each January, the St. Thomas & District Chamber’s Board of Directors elects and confirms officers and committee Chairs for the coming year. Accountant Dan Kelly, Controller of DowlerKarn Ltd., has been named as the Chair of the Chamber’s 2016 Board of Directors, succeeding Ross Fair from Fanshawe College. Ross automatically remains part of the Chamber’s Executive Council as Immediate Past Chair. Robert Furneaux, Managing Director of St. Thomas-based pump manufacturer Gorman – Rupp of Canada, has been confirmed as ViceChair of the Chamber’s 2016 Board Chair of the Board. CPA/CGA Mark Lassam, of Directors, Dan Kelly. owner of Lassam & Co., was re-elected to hold the position of Treasurer. The Chamber’s senior staff officer, Bob Hammersley, serves the Board in an ex-officio capacity as Secretary. The Chamber’s officers and committee Chairs form the Chamber’s Executive Council. Standing Committee Chairs for 2016 will be Ray Bosveld of HollisWealth, heading our Member Services Committee, and Kathy Cook of World Financial will be leading our Public Sector Liaison Committee. The full Chamber Board consists of 12 elected Directors, each serving 3-year terms. The incoming Chair has the option of naming up to three individuals to the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Chair`s Appointees for 1-year terms. See page 10 of this issue or check the Chamber website for our full Board and staff list. At the January 20 meeting, Chair Dan Kelly confirmed that former Member of Parliament Joe Preston will return to our Board. Joe has extensive experience with the Chamber and has previously served as Chair of the Board. Joe will be heading a special project relating to local potential under the pending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) international trade agreement.

Discover China with your Chamber For the fourth time, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce will participate in an exclusive Chamber-based tour to China this fall, October 5 to 15. Since the initial news was released on our plans last month, interest and bookings have exceeded all expectations and we`re expecting our tour group this year to be our biggest ever. The increased interest originates at two levels. Local businesses looking to familiarize and consider business opportunities and, biggest of all, the exceptional price. Our Member price this year is the lowest ever with a complete package which sold last year at $2999 USD being offered at $2499 CDN. Flights, meals, and 11 days of 4-star and 5-star hotel accommodation, all taxes, ground transportation and admission/entrance fees to attractions we will see are all included. Elgin Travel & Cruises in Elgin Mall is our local travel agent handling the business of the tour for the Chamber. Ineke Palmer is our group agent, and will provide full details on request. You can also view and/or download our itinerary and additional tour info in the feature on the main page of the Chamber website at www.stthomaschamber.on.ca

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Pro Text Events and News of Interest to our Members

Make income tax planning part of your financial fitness by Patrick Erb

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As the year begins it is important to remember that tax planning should be considered on an ongoing basis throughout the year and integrated into an overall financial plan. To minimize tax, everyone should review their particular situation with a professional to ensure their financial affairs have been structured to minimize tax as much as possible. Major transactions should be reviewed in advance to take into account the tax implications. Here is a summary of many tax planning ideas; however, not all suggestions may be appropriate for your particular situation. - Contribute as much as you can to an RRSP and contribute early in the year instead of the following February to take advantage of shelter growth opportunities. For the 2015 tax year, you have until Monday February 29, 2016 to make your contribution. - Contribute up to $2,500 annually to a RESP and earn a 20% government grant towards your children’s education. In addition you may be eligible to receive a Canada Learning Bond which provides $525 in the first year, and an additional $100 each year until the child turns 15. - A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) can be established for an individual under 60 and eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. Lifetime contribution of $200,000 is permitted. - Structure your investments to make interest deductible - Combine charitable donations with your spouse. In years of low income, donations can be carried forward for up to 5 years. This should also be done to take advantage of the higher credit over $200. - Political donations. Keep receipts from donations made to political parties separately. They qualify for a different income tax credit. The credit is much more generous than the tax credit for charitable donations. - The Children’s Fitness Amount can be claimed by either parent but cannot exceed $1000 in total per child. There is also a Children’s Arts Amount of up to $500 per child. - Eligible childcare costs include daycare or babysitting, boarding school and certain camp expenses. If you are paying a family member to look after your children, this can be claimed as long as they are 18 or over and provide a receipt with their SIN. They will also need to report this income on their tax return. When the child lives with both parents, the parent with the lower net income must claim the expense deduction - An investment tax credit is available in respect of each eligible apprentice. An incentive grant per year is available for first and second year apprentices. - If income, forms, or elections have been missed in the past, a Voluntary Disclosure to CRA may be available to avoid penalties. There are numerous other tax tips and difficult to include in a short article. It is best to speak to your tax/financial advisor for additional advice or assistance regarding claims available on your personal tax return. Lastly, remember generally, your personal income tax return has to be filed on or before 30 April. For the self-employed and their spouses/partners, the return deadline is 15 June, but any taxes owing must be paid by the 30 April deadline. This column appears regularly in Business Beat and has been submitted by Patrick Erb, Accountant and Tax Specialist, with Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services Limited, 462 Talbot Street, St. Thomas. Questions and comments on this column are welcomed by the writer at 519-631-3862 or via e-mail: info@reithandassociates.com

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14


Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

The one change you need to make in your business in 2016 by Christina R. Green

At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, if you make just one change to your business in 2016 you’ll open up a new door to an even greater level of success. It’s a very simple concept. You don’t have to go get an MBA or Master’s in marketing. You simply have to refocus your offerings from you want to say to what your ideal customer wants: Help your customers get what they need. All marketers will tell you to reframe your sales approach from features to benefits, but that’s not enough. That’s only the beginning because you’re still seeing your business through your eyes. You need to think larger. Your customer wants what you offer (hopefully) but they don’t do that in a vacuum. Their wants and needs are larger than your service or product. Switching from You/Business-Centred to Customer-Centred If you think of your customers’ purchases in a narrow focus, you are missing opportunities to be of greater use to them. One of the most successful approaches can be found online in retail and service businesses adopting a “Tips & Ideas” section

in their websites. This tactic works on everything from furniture to clothing and decorating to health and beauty. Adopters aren’t just filling space. They are meeting customers’ larger needs by indirectly asking, “Why do buyers purchase this product? What is it they really want?” and creating content that addresses those needs and even expands them. For instance, why does anyone want to wear a pedometer? Because it’s stylish? No, generally they are trying to make a commitment to their health. If you sell pedometers, talking about features may be helpful if there’s a big differentiator between models, but most of the time there isn’t. If all you’re doing is providing the features of the item you sell, you are as unremarkable as your competition. However, if you provide resources on fitness, best practices, tips, and ways to meet your goals, you are giving your customers something they need above and beyond a product. This is how you become a resource for them and build loyalty. Customers also share what they find valuable with friends and family. Help them choose you No one wants to be sold to. Look at how the

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automobile industry has tried to adapt from their hard sell attitude to a “no-haggle” approach at many dealerships. Creating resources that help your customers find what they need leads them to you. If you’re creating that content it can also be done in a way that steers them to you in a subtle fashion. For example, a bank may create a resource that helps people select the best credit card for their needs at the same time they are running a special on their card. The content could tell people about conditions that are important to look for and it just so happens their credit card meets those conditions. They’re already on your site so help them find what they want. Continued on page 16

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Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

Focusing on what your ideal customer wants

Continued from page 15

Now look bigger Let’s get back to the pedometer example. You realized your customers looking for a pedometer just want to make healthier changes and let’s assume you created content that would give them tips on better health practices and goal setting. Now take it to the 30,000-foot view. How can you help them do more? Provide a list of professional resources in your area like gyms, fitness instructors, and weight loss clinics. Bring in someone to do a fitness or cooking demonstration. Work with these professionals to give discounts to

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your customers. Create a network that provides more business for everyone involved. The Chamber’s website can be a great resource to direct traffic to since it has a very searchable list of local businesses known to be trustworthy and reliable. Moving from a you-centred to a customer-centred focus proves that your business sells more than pedometers. It becomes an invaluable resource for healthier living through providing what your customers are ultimately seeking. Make your customers’ lives easier and give them more of what they want. Extend offerings and you’ll draw in a larger crowd. People will begin talking about you and you will stand out from the competition. The one thing you can do in 2016 to grow your business is to stop looking at your customers’ buying decisions in a vacuum. Think larger. Understand that they have a life and the more you can be a part of it by providing the answers to their questions and meeting their needs, the more you can endear your business to them through utility and increase revenue. Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN. org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager’s Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

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DINING & ENTERTAINMENT FOOD & WINE

You can harvest no wine before its time by Jamie Quai

A red wine with 2 to 36 hours of contact usually leads to rosé production. Red wine skin contact is anywhere from 5 to 40 days. The three main reasons for this timeline are: the extraction of flavour, colour pigments, and structure (in the form of tannins). The timeline is critical because the extraction of those factors doesn’t happen at the same rate or at the same time. Colour is usually fully extracted before the tannins start to come out of solution. The analogy is the perfect cup of tea – a quick dunk of the tea leaves and the tea only has a touch of flavour, but has no volume when you drink it. Leave the leaves in over a long time and Media Metroland & the flavour becomes really complex and intense, but now you are getting tannins and astringency which

One of the most challenging practical aspects of wine to explain to those who are unfamiliar with the process of winemaking is the length of time it takes to bring the wine from planting to your glass. This month (and next) is all about highlighting some of those timelines, and offers some insight into why in this business patience is a necessity. The decision to plant is a critical aspect of your wines timeline. The vine needs at least three growing seasons to establish itself before it will begin to grow any fruit. Trying to push the vine to fruit in youth will divert much needed resources from the root and trunk development which will only shorten the vine’s life. Most sensible growers who are looking for top-tier quality will not harvest the first 4-5 years of fruit for winemaking. Complicating the grapevine timeline is the idea that the wine’s terroir, life essence (its distinct personality or how the vine expresses itself ) doesn’t begin to really show itself until the vine’s “harvested grapes have to third or fourth decade of be processed as quickly as life. There is a truism in my business that you don’t possible to maximize the plant a vineyard for yourwine’s freshness” self – you plant it for your descendants. The timelines of harvest are some of the tricki- have you reaching for est things to master as a winemaker. It requires the milk and sugar an efficient balance of flow throughout your to mask it. There is a processing equipment, enough help to harvest, flavour and structure somewhere sort and, of course every wine has its own dis- balance tinct needs. Grapes have a relatively narrow op- along that timeline. timum window to be harvested. Some varieties The only difference is are about a fortnight, some are about two days. that we use oak instead We have to plan for every possible scenario in of milk to mask the advance of harvest. Once it’s going, we can’t harsher elements. Sugstop the process. The harvested grapes have to ar is a universal aid in be processed as quickly as possible to maximize masking over extracted the wine’s freshness (Contrary to popular belief, structure, in red wines all fruit begins to break down the instant it is at least. Now we are ready picked). Some whites need 2 to 24 hours of juice con- to start turning those tact with their skins to really drive out flavour. grapes we’ve waited so February, 2016

long for into wine. Next month we will pick up on the processing pad, with our juice, and talk about how it can still be a few more years before that bottle is ready to hit the shelves. Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County

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Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce

Aylmer community volunteers get recognized

Board member Dennis O’Neil (left) presents the Volunteer Youth award to Justin Attfield.



In January, the Aylmer Area Community Foundation recognized community volunteers for their contribution with the People Who Make a Difference Awards. Area citizens who, through their volunteering, assistance to others, care and promotion of their community have made a difference in the life of this area were recognized by the Foundation for their generous efforts. 2015 Award Recipients were: Volunteer Youth Award: Justin Attfield Awarded to a youth up to and including 18 years who has made a significant contribution through their contributions to the community.  Nominees can be considered for volunteerism plus leadership, spirit and or individual excellence. Family Volunteer Award: Don and Judy Durkee Awarded to a family that has made outstanding contributions to the community and has demonstrated consistent caring for the improvement of life in the area. Continued on page 19

Where Home Begins

SM

The crossroads in downtown Aylmer, busy even when the cold weather hit in January.

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Aylmer & Area Chamber of Commerce Continued from page 18 Corporate Award: Hills Pharmacy Awarded to a local business or organization for outstanding support and promotion of local volunteerism through corporate culture, activities and/or philanthropic programs. Helping Hands Award: Bill Cresswell and Doug Claus Awarded to a volunteer who contributes significantly to improving the quality of life for others through hands-on work such as serving meals, driving, care giving or administrative tasks. Innovative Award: Scott Lewis Awarded to an individual or organization that successfully engages volunteers in an innovative and creative style. Nominations to the Aylmer Area Community Foundation for their ‘People Who Make a Difference’ awards are always welcomed and appreciated. Contact them today with your local community volunteer who is making a difference! 519 773 5655 info@aylmerfoundation.on.ca www.aylmerfoundation.on.ca ABOVE: Aylmer Area Community Foundation Board Chair, Jack Couckuyt presented the awards in January to community recipients (left) Doug Claus, Bill Cresswell, Rowland Hill and Scott Lewis.

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Local JA prepares young people to succeed by Terry Carroll

For over 58 years, Junior Achievement Canada has inspired more than 4 million youth to succeed in an ever-changing global economy. Last year, almost 250,000 students in over 400 communities benefited from JA programs. A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group entitled “Making an Impact, Assessing Junior Achievement of Canada’s Value Creation” suggests JA programs produce more financially literate graduates who save more and borrow less than the average Canadian. JA graduates believe that participation in JA programs had a significant impact on their desire to stay in school and pursue a post-secondary education, and their ability to get a job and perform at work. And JA produces graduates who are more likely to become entrepreneurs, create jobs and power the economy. Here in St. Thomas-Elgin, Junior Achievement is once again running two companies. Managers and directors meet Monday evenings at Elgin Business Resource Centre under the auspices of JA London & District with six local adult mentors: Dan Kelly, Gene Ryan, Tara McCaulley, Barry Fitzgerald, Jeff Sheridan and Taylor Spinney.

The high school kids involved in JA, and the adult mentors, invest $10 to buy a share in a JA company. The students take on roles as directors and a management team, and are paid a nominal salary during the program. The goal is to turn a profit by the time each company wraps up in late March or early April, when each company hopes a distribution of profits will be made back to shareholders. Dipesh Mistry, vice-president of sales with the JA company Enviroclean, says Envirocean is producing 800 mL bottles of an environmentally friendly spray that will prevent ice buildup on windshields. Or, if applied to an already frosty windshield, the Enviroclean spray should de-ice a frosted window within 10 to 20 minutes. Mistry is in Grade 12 at Central Elgin high school in St. Thomas, and this is his second year with JA. “Before JA, I was not much of a social person. But after doing this for a year and a half, JA has helped me with that.” For example, at a recent Chamber of Commerce Business After 5, Mistry found he could go up and talk to people about Enviroclean without problems. Branden Miller is doing his victory lap at Parkside in St. Thomas. This is his fifth year with Junior Achievement. He’s a director and works in

production of Enviroclean. He says JA helps kids to develop responsibility, team work, and the program has really helped his confidence. “You learn how to talk to people you’ve never met before,” he says. Jeff Kelly is the president of Frostek, a company producing gloves that allow users to text on mobile devices while out in the cold. The index finger and thumb of each glove is sprayed with a spaceage liquid that dries and hardens a bit to make texting easy on freezing touch screens. Frosek director Ben Groulx says directors learned of a business in Hamilton that was producing the liquid for military aircraft. “We took the idea from the military and applied it to the domestic market,” Groulx said. He added that before JA, “I never imagined I’d be able to sell anything to anybody. I went from sweating and not knowing what to say into a more outgoing mode.” He’s a Grade 12 student at Central Elgin and this is his first experience with JA. He’s convinced that what he’s learned about responsibility and selling will stand him in good stead when he goes to university. More about both Frostek – A Junior Achievement Company, and Enviroclean, is available on Facebook. Both products retail for $10.

Photo Left: Jeff Kelly (left) and Ben Groulx promote Frostek at the January St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce Business After 5. Photo Right: Branden Miller (left) and Dipesh Mistry display the Junior Achievement product Enviroclean at the Chamber Business After 5.

Congratulations on Your Achievements!

2 Second Ave., St. Thomas N5R 5S7

(519)633-3301

www.bowsherandbowsher.com February, 2016

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Dollars with Sense

Empowering Grade 7-9 students to make smart, lifelong financial choices Courtesy of london-and-district.jacan.org

tive classroom program, students will: • Develop a money management self-profile • Learn what influences their spendin • Discover how to be a SMART consumer • Calculate the cost of credit • Develop awareness about consumer rights, fraud and consumer protection • Identify their financial needs, wants and goals • Prepare a budget Learn how to make their money work for them through thoughtful investing By the end of the program, students will know how to evaluate their financial decisions against their goals. This prepares them to make smart, lifelong financial choices. Dollars with Sense is delivered in the Grade 7 or 8 classroom over one full school day. Teachers please sign up your class by completing the Educator Registration Form. Volunteers sign up to deliver a program by completing the Volunteer Registration Form. These forms are available on-line. You may also call Junior Achievement London & District at 519439-4201.

Canadian personal debt is at an all-time record high. According to Equifax Canada, the average consumer’s non-mortgage personal debt is close to $21,000. How can we prepare today’s youth to avoid personal debt? Through the Dollars With Sense program, Grade 7-9 students get the vital tools they need to make smart financial decisions, live debtDan Kelly and Tara McCaulley are two of the mentors of the free and become savvy investors. Students learn Junior Achievement companies operating Monday evenings personal money management skills that they at Elgin Business Resource Centre. can apply to their lives ... beginning now. Dollars with Sense leaders make learning fun by using games and multimedia to boost students’ self-confidence and help Introducing Grade 3-6 students to the possibilities of business them achieve financial literacy. Students learn about Courtesy of london-and-district.jacan.org budgeting, saving, global Entrepreneurs drive the Canadian economy, strengthen communicurrencies and safe online ties and create jobs. shopping. However, children are often not encouraged to become entrepreIn this one-day, interacneurs. In JA’s A Business of Our Own program, grade 3-6 students put on entrepreneurial hats and become the CEO of their own retail business. Volunteers from the local business community partner with Excellence classroom teachers to help students set up a retail stand, track profits and distribute earnings. Students learn the responsibilities of running a business and how to work with others to achieve shared goals. A Business of Our Own teaches students basic business concepts such as management, finance, production and marketing. Students will have fun running their own business while building their skills in language, communication, numeracy, math, critical thinking, problem-solving, creative thinking and decision-making. Teachers please sign up your class by completing the Educator Registration Form. Volunteers sign up to deliver a program by completing the Volunteer Registration Form. These forms are available online. You may also call Junior Achievement London & District at 519-439-4201.

A Business of Our Own

isn’t a skill...

It’s an Attitude! Congratulations to

Junior Achievement on another successful year!

We salute Junior Achievement for helping to create tomorrow’s leaders. PROPANE

Mayor Heather Jackson and City Council

· FUELS · LUBRICANTS

Supporting Our Community

Chris Cattrysse

Customer Account Representative

(226) 378-8983 chris@dowlerkarn.com 545 Talbot St., St. Thomas February, 2016

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RRSPs and February 2016 Investments Should you put your money in an RRSP or a TFSA? by Michael Moore

When deciding whether to save in an RRSP or a TFSA, the choice is basically to pay the tax now, or pay it later. But there’s more to consider. Here’s an example we’d all welcome – say you unexpectedly receive a $1,000 work bonus and want to invest it for the future. You have a personal tax-free savings account (TFSA) and a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) at work. The $1,000 question is: Which account do you invest it in? While the question is simple, arriving at the right answer for your situation can take a little thinking. Here’s an overview of what would happen, assuming you are 35 years old, your investment generates a 5% annual investment return, and you’re in a 30% tax bracket during your career. If you invest the $1,000 into your group RRSP at work, you can contribute the full $1,000 pretax. That’s because RRSP contributions are taxdeductible and you can get this tax deduction up front when contributing to a plan such as a group RRSP. (If you want to invest in an RRSP outside

of a group plan, you would pay the 30% tax, invest the remaining $700 and top it back up to $1,000 with the tax refund you will receive.) If you choose to invest in a TFSA, the actual amount you’ll have to invest is $700 ($1,000 less 30% income tax), so this would be the starting amount in your TFSA account. If you save and invest your initial contribution until retirement, here’s what you will have when you withdraw the full amount at age 65. Your $1,000 RRSP contribution has grown to $4,322. If you’re in a lower tax bracket in retirement due to a lower income (say, 20%), you are left with $3,457.60 after your withdrawal. If you are in the same 30% tax bracket, you’ll receive $3,025. However, if you are in a higher tax bracket (say, 40%, perhaps because you sold your home and the proceeds of the sale have generated investment income, or you’ve inherited money that has generated income), you’ll only be left with $2,593.20. Your $700 TFSA contribution has grown to $3,025, and you can withdraw the entire amount tax free In the end, the pros and cons of a TFSA versus

RRSP contribution may depend on whether your tax bracket in retirement is lower or higher than it was during your career when you made the initial contribution. Another factor to consider is that because TFSA withdrawals are not considered taxable income, they do not affect your eligibility for incomelinked government benefits like Old Age Security. For example, in 2015, if someone age 65 has income over $73,000, some of their Old Age Security benefit will be clawed back by the government, and the benefit will completely disappear at the $117,000 annual income level. Many people use both RRSPs and TFSAs to save. But if you’re trying to decide which account to invest in when some extra money comes your way, consider the tax bracket you expect to be in when you hope to make your withdrawal. You should also consider whether you will use key TFSA benefits such as being able to recontribute withdrawals, and not having withdrawals count as taxable income for government benefit purposes. Michael Moore is an Advisor with Sun Life Financial in St. Thomas. michael.moore@sunlife.com

Welcome To Our Team We are pleased to announce that Laura Callaghan has joined the CIBC Wood Gundy St. Thomas Branch as an Investment Advisor.

With over 26 years’ experience in the financial services industry, With over 26 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Laura specializes in Laura specializes in developing innovative investment solutions to developing innovative investment solutions to meet each client’s needs. meet each client’s needs. Whatever your financial needs, we can help develop a solution that’s right for you.

Whatever your financial needs, we can help develop a solution that’s right forMcConville you. Shawn Laura Callaghan District Branch Manager, Managing Director CIBC Wood Gundy Shawn McConville 459 Talbot St 459 TalbotOntario St St. Thomas, N5P 1C1

District Branch Manager, Managing Director CIBC Wood Gundy

St. Thomas, Ontario N5P 1C1

Investment Advisor 519Callaghan 631-7248 Laura laura.callaghan@cibc.ca Investment Advisor 519 631-7248 laura.callaghan@cibc.ca

CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., a subsidiary of CIBC and a Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.

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RRSPs and Investments Tips for last-minute RSP contributions by Karyn Silliker

RSP is the same every year, you might not be able to make your maximum contribution in one lump sum. Creating a PAC allows you to invest regular and smaller contributions on a weekly or monthly basis, allowing you to save for your dream retirement automatically. To learn more about financial planning visit www.meridiancu.ca or come and visit us at Meridian’s Aylmer branch located at 36 Talbot Street West.

The crunch is on with the deadline for Registered Savings Plan (RSP) contributions fast approaching. Even if you haven’t been making regular contributions, personal finance experts say don’t be intimidated by the deadline. There’s still time left for you to make a difference in your retirement savings plan. “Last-minute RSP contributions aren’t ideal,” says Wade Stayzer, the vice president of retail and investment services at Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union. “A personalized financial plan with regular contributions being made to an RSP over a long term is much more advantageous. But making a last-minute contribution is at least a step in the right direction. To save you a lot of stress next year, why not break the last-minute habit and set up a pre-authorized contribution that allows you to invest smaller amounts Whether your retirement is a long way off or just around the corner, on a regular basis?” there are three easy ways to help ensure your financial plans are on track: Meridian offers these tips for lastminute RSP contributions: Calculate how much Get Going Now: Many financial institutions will have extended hours you need to save to meet the needs of last-minute con<1% OF CANADIANS ARE Unsure how much you need to save tributors, but don’t wait until the very for your retirement? Make planning for MEMBERS OF YACHT CLUBS. last minute; make an appointment as the future a little bit easier by working soon as possible. You can also conwith your Sun Life Advisor to create sider phone or online banking. No a meaningful goal through the use of matter how you chose to contribute, unique retirement tools and calculayou’ll need your account information tors. and social insurance number. Source: Sail Canada, 2014 Don’t Over-Contribute: Due to Set up an automatic contribution limits, be sure to only invest your allowable amount, as savings plan over-contributions are subject to tax Does your employer offer a group penalties. You can find your current pension plan or RRSP? Joining a group limit on your most recent Notice of plan is one of the best ways to save for Assessment from the Canada RevRetirement clichés are yesterday. Talk with me today retirement. Do not make the mistake enue Agency. of not reaching out for some profesabout Sun Life Financial’s customized approach to your Get a Short Term Plan: Most lastsional guidance.Your Sun Life Advisor minute contributors “park” their financial and retirement planning.1 can cover all the pros and cons. money for the short-term and then decide later where to invest for the Michael L. Moore* Create an overall long haul. Working with a trusted fiTel: 519-637-7747 nancial advisor can help you choose financial plan michael.moore@sunlife.com the best option given your circumwww.sunlife.ca/michael.moore Your finances change as your life stances. changes, be it getting married, starting a 9 Princess Avenue, Unit 3 Plan Ahead: Make next RSP season new job or having a baby.There are five St. Thomas, ON N5R 3V3 less stressful and set up a pre-authomajor financial milestones in life that rized contribution (PAC) now. While a Sun Life Advisor is trained to assist the deadline for contributing to an

Three Simple Steps to a Better Retirement

1

WHAT’S YOUR RETIREMENT VISION?

2

Money for Life

3

you with.

Karyn Silliker is Meridian’s Aylmer Branch Manager.

There is no time like the present to get started. Contact your local Sun Life Advisor – Michael Moore - today!

February, 2016

Life’s brighter under the sun 1 Only advisors who hold CFP®(Certified Financial Planner), CH.F.C. (Chartered Financial Consultant), F.Pl. (Financial Planner in Quebec), or equivalent designations are certified as financial planners. *Mutual funds offered by Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies. © Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2015.

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RRSPs and Investments Pay down my mortgage or invest in my RRSP? by Ellen Luft

This question is a common one, especially when extra cash becomes available and you need to make decisions about how to best allocate your dollars for long term benefit. There is no easy answer and the decision can be a very personal one. Here are a few tips that can help you make the right choice for your personal circumstances. Pay off all non-tax deductible high interest rate debt first, such as credit card balances or consumer loans. Then consider using the extra cash for mortgage pre-payment or RRSP contributions. If you have an uneasy relationship with debt, then eliminating all your debt including your mortgage should be your priority. In other words, if you cannot sleep at night because you worry about your debt load, pay it off as fast as possible. After the debt is brought to a level at which you feel comfortable, then your priorities can more comfortably shift to building your savings. After all, paying off your mortgage is the least risky of all strategies and for highly risk-averse investors; this may be the best choice. When deciding whether to put extra cash towards your mortgage or towards your RRSP, take into consideration the rate of interest paid on the mortgage versus the expected rate of return earned

on your RRSP. If you expect to pay a consistently higher rate of return on your mortgage than you expect to earn on your RRSP then it’s likely a good strategy to pay down the mortgage as fast as possible. You can then shift your strategy to savings when the debt is paid off. This is a good rule of thumb in many cases. Rates on most mortgage debt in recent years are relatively low. As a result, many investors are looking for a way to lower their debt load, but not exclusively. They also want to take advantage of tax-efficient investing in their RRSP to grow their nest egg. Many Investors use a common two-step strategy for using extra cash which can simultaneously achieve the goal of paying down their mortgage faster while also building their RRSP. 1. The first step in the strategy is to invest the extra available cash in the RRSP. 2. The second step in the strategy is to use the tax refund generated by the extra RRSP contribution to pay down the principle of the mortgage. In certain situations, this strategy can result in the maximum financial benefit over the long term. The term and interest rate on the mortgage along with the expected return on the RRSP savings are all relevant when making the decision about where

to allocate extra cash. Each situation is different. In order to see how all the variables interact, it’s often useful to use a financial calculator specifically designed to assess the impact of various strategies on your long-term financial picture. These types of calculators are available on the internet through your financial advisor. Together you and your financial advisor can determine the best way to generate maximum benefit from your dollars in a way that suits your personal situation. This article was prepared solely by Ellen Luft who is a registered representative of HollisWealth® (a division of Scotia Capital Inc., a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada). The views and opinions, including any recommendations, expressed in this article are those of Ellen Luft alone and not those of HollisWealth. ® Registered trademark of The Bank of Nova Scotia, used under licence. HollisWealth is a trade name of HollisWealth Insurance Agency Ltd. Insurance products provided through HollisWealth Insurance Agency Ltd.

Congratulations to our Administrative Assistant Stacie Van Liere on her 10 0 year anniversary with us. THANK YOU

Our 9th Annual Curling Bonspiel was a great success, resulting in over $7000 to support programs at the Talbot Teen Centre.

Stacie

Thank you to all of our Sponsors and Donors.

for your ongoing dedication, organization and customer service.

Congratulations

Stacie

T: 519.644.2641 • F: 519.644.2640 www.farrowfinancial.ca • admin@farrowfinancial.ca 14107 Belmont Rd., Belmont, Ontario N0L 1B0 February, 2016

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Fitzray's 94.1 myFM Fore Golfers Only Adrenaline Paintball Forest City Castings Ambrose Plumbing GCW Custom Kitchens & Barb Labord Bliss Hair Studio, Linda Ouimette Cabinetry Inc. GNC - Elgin Mall Bradken London Grant Gulych, Golf Teaching Briwood Farm Markets Professional Carol & Don Gagen GT's Beach Bar & Grill Carol Ewaskiw Hair, Body & Soul Day Spa Catering by James Meadows Jack Huber, Lawyer CIBC Shedden CIBC Wood Gundy Seabrook Group Judy Thorner Kathy Orsi City of St. Thomas Laura Woermke Comfort Inn Disbrowe Chevrolet Buick GMC Legends Tavern Libro Cadillac Locke Insurance Dotsy's Entertainment London Knights Doug Tarry Homes M&M Meat Shops Dowler-Karn Downtown Development Board Maple Leaf Entertainment Medlyn Stained Glass Dr. Peggy Malone, Chiroprator Pam & Ron Smith Drs Perry & Johnston Family Park n Bowl Health Options Pete Charlton's Quality Meats Dutton Meadows Golf Club PhotosbyMG Elements Hair Salon Pickard Peanuts Elgin Chrysler Pleasant Valley Golf and C.C. Elgin Travel

Port Stanley Festival Theatre Quai du Vin Quiznos Railway City Brewing Co. Real Canadian Superstore Relish Elgin Rowbust Dragon Boat Team Ruth Newsom Senior Men's Kitchen Krew Shaw's Ice Cream Shelagh Dick Shoppers Drug Mart ‐ Downtown Small Business Enterprise Centre St. Thomas EDC St. Thomas Fire Dept. St. Thomas Golf and Country Club Staples Sue Lyle The Bluffs Golf Club The Weekly News Tru Hot Yoga Tru Spa Wayside Dining Lounge Wendy's Wind & Willow

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RRSPs and Investments How to take control of your finances January and February are perfect months to check in on your personal finance situation to ensure you’re set up for success when it comes to spending, saving and investing. This can seem like an overwhelming task, but there are some great tools and resources at your fingertips that can help you take control of your finances. Here are some ideas to get started: Take advantage of online calculators – Seeing a monthly or yearly breakdown of how much your morning coffees or work lunches are costing may help you find ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Many financial institutions have simple online calculators that can help you see how these everyday purchases can translate into savings, how much you need to save for a mortgage, or how your investments can grow over time.

that provides quality information from a reputable source. Many financial institutions have corresponding blogs that provide quality advice on a wide range of topics. For example, Tangerine’s Forward Thinking blog delivers engaging content including articles, infographics and videos from a diverse roster of contributors including well-known bloggers, writers, personal finance experts and thought leaders.

Check out personal finance blogs – When it comes to personal finance blogs, there is no shortage of options, but the trick is finding one

Consider an Automatic Savings Program (ASP) – Many of us find that we don’t have money to save when the end of the month rolls

,, CERTIFIED CERTIFIED FINANCIAL FINANCIAL

PLANNER® PLANNER® Investment Advisor Advisor Investment 519-631-4088 519-631-4088

, CERTIFIED , CERTIFIED FINANCIAL FINANCIAL Karin Karin Barrie Barrie PLANNER® PLANNER® Investment Investment Advisor Advisor 519-631-4724 519-631-4724

, CHARTERED , CHARTERED Steven Knipe Steven Knipe INVESTMENT MANAGER® INVESTMENT MANAGER® Investment Advisor Investment Advisor 519-631-4088 519-631-4088

Justine Kelly, Associate Associate Associate Financial Financial Advisor Advisor Investment Advisor 519-631-4724 519-631-4724

around - this is where an ASP can help. An ASP automatically deposits a specified amount of funds into your savings or investing account at a fixed frequency, for example monthly or when you get paid. Banks like Tangerine offer quick and easy setup of an ASP online, which means you can start accumulating money with a few clicks without ever having to think about it again.

Raymond RaymondBosveld Bosveld,,Investment Investment Advisor Advisor 519-631-4088 519-631-4088

Gerald Mackichan, Associate Investment Advisor 519-631-4724

HollisWealth trade nameofand a division of Scotia Inc.,ofa member of the Investor CanadianProtection Investor Protection Fund the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.™® HollisWealthisisa a division Scotia Capital Inc., aCapital member the Canadian Fund and theand Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. Registered of The Nova Scotia, under licence. Action FinancialGroup Groupisis aa personal of of Karin Barrie. Trademarktrademark of The Bank ofBank NovaofScotia, used used under license. Action Financial personaltrade tradename name Karin Barrie .

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RRSPs and Investments Investing in a low rate, low growth, high volatility environment by Stephanie Farrow

Investing is a global thing. Macro events happening around the world like a slowdown (China), uncertainty (Eurozone), or debt crisis recovery (Greece and US), have an effect on our market at home in many ways. The global economy is an array of moving parts and pieces in different countries and currencies, each one setting the various markets off in one way or another; all at the same time. Bruce Cooper CFA, Chief Investment Officer, TD Asset Management Forward Perspectives, Risks from Abroad notes, “Investors may be faced with a more uncomfortable journey then they’ve been used to. In this environment, we remain cautious – but not negative.” We are in an era of low rate, low growth, high volatility investing and it looks like it might be here to stay a while. This year, some equity markets are not expected to produce the type of returns an investor may have once sought out. Some equites will struggle for even a low rate of return

in this current environment, all the while dealing with unusually high volatility to do so. What about fixed income investments like bonds and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)? The challenge here is preservation of purchasing power. It’s hard to attain inflation-beating returns in a conservative fixed income portfolio in a low interest rate environment. Although interest rates are expected to rise soon, the central bank will manage the increase slowly. If interest rates come up too fast, it puts families with high debt load at risk of financial crisis, so the rate rise needs to be managed carefully for many reasons. Investors likely won’t see high GIC interest rates, like the one’s their parents saw in their golden years, any time soon. While GICs seem like safe investments, the risk of having a full GIC portfolio is not staying ahead of inflation. So what is an investor to do? This environment is suited to a balanced strategy and means using some different strategies than you may have used in the past. As an investor, you want to protect your capital,

but fixed income may not keep pace with inflation; and you want to grow your money but you aren’t sure about the risk involved to do so. There is no one single asset class that will do all this for you so you will need to get a mix of them to balance out your volatility and inflationary risks. Where equities are concerned, the natural question is, does the risk of volatility outweigh the potential for return? How much risk am I willing to take as an investor and for what potential trade off? Although we expect volatility in the equities, it isn’t really a matter of should you have equities or not. It’s more a question of how much equity exposure you can handle and choosing your equities carefully. Equities will still be needed if you want to drive growth, and to do so, you will need to embrace the volatility that goes along with it. Although the Canadian equity market is expected to be soft this year, the US is still in a growth mode and there is good news still coming from the US labour market. So despite the economic contraction and shift happening in China, there

TD Canada Trust

Some investment income attracts less tax than others. In conjunction with your Financial Advisor, we can look for opportunities to minimize your overall taxes.

Commitment to Excellence

Complete Range of Investment and Wealth Management Services Your TD Wealth Financial Planner can work with you on an ongoing basis to understand your current financial circumstances, your immediate priorities and longer-term goals and to provide realistic, straightforward advice that will help you balance your needs for today with your vision for the future. Mark Ashfield, your Financial Planner A financial plan is your road map to success. Mark recognizes that financial needs vary throughout your life and that your personal goals evolve over time. He is here to help you take care of all your wealth considerations so that you and your family can stay on track through any of life’s transitions.

Call or Drop by the branch. We look forward to seeing you.

Mark Lassam, CPA, CA 115 Curtis Street, St. Thomas 519-631-1631 mark@lassam.ca February, 2016

Mark Ashfield Financial Planner

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TD Canada Trust 378 Talbot Street St Thomas, ON (519) 631-7070 26


RRSPs and Investments What you need to know about retiring with RRIFs Everyone should be familiar with the Registered Retirement Savings Plan, but as you get closer to your post-working life, there’s another registered account you need to get to know: the Registered Retirement Income Fund. At 72, you’re no longer allowed to invest in an RRSP. In fact, you must – by government regulation – withdraw money from it. Essentially, an RRSP converts into a RRIF, which then becomes the account you remove your money from. For many retirees, the switch to a RRIF can be confusing. David Ablett, director of tax and estate planning at Investors Group, shares his advice on the benefits of a RRIF and what you need to know to make it work best for you. 65 is the magical age. While you

have to convert your RRSP into a RRIF before January 1 of the year you turn 72, you can make that transition at any age. However, many people wait until they are 65 to do so. At that point, you can take advantage of the pension income tax credit and pension income splitting. That means that if you are required to take out, say, $10,000 from your RRIF in a given year, you could, if it were tax-advantageous, transfer half of it to your spouse’s income. Know the “ins” and “outs”. As with an RRSP, the money in your RRIF still grows tax-free, but you are no longer allowed to put new money in. You now have to make regular withdrawals at an

increasing rate. There is a minimum amount you have to remove but there is no maximum. However, you will have to pay tax, based on your marginal tax rate, on whatever you take out. “If you take a large amount from your RRIF, you could be exposing yourself to a clawback of your Old Age Security payments,” says Ablett. Use your TFSA for extra cash. If you are required to withdraw more money from your RRIF than you need, then take advantage of your taxfree savings account (TFSA). You’ll have to pay taxes on the amount that is withdrawn from your RRIF, but then the money can continue to grow tax-free in the TFSA.

Continued from page 26

Investing with a longterm approach There should be some equity opportunities still in the global market with high quality global companies. You may wish to consider including a dividend strategy in your portfolio. If you invest in high quality blue chip dividend paying companies, they typically pay out their dividends even when the market goes down. The earnings of these regular dividends are usually higher than GIC payouts. Strategic income investing is a strategy for your fixed income investments. It will allow you to have a variety of bonds (government, corporate, investment grade, high-yield, emerging market) and income producing vehicles (floating-rate loans) that behave differently in various market conditions. Holding a mix of types and durations of bonds can help reduce your portfolio’s risk of rising interest rates and keep you earning income. “We continue to encourage investors to take a long-term approach and believe that they can be well served by a diversified portfolio of high quality investments, including investment-grade fixed income (for stability and some income) and global equities (for currency diversification), and a focus on companies that pay consistent dividends and can increase over time,” says Cooper. There is good argument for professional management in a risk managed strategy. February, 2016

Saving for the Future Was the First Step.

Let Us Help You Make Those Savings Last. How much can I withdraw to do everything I’ve planned? How much spending is too much spending? Will all the years of saving be enough? If these are the questions you’re asking yourself these days, let’s schedule a time when we can sit down and answer them together. We’ll take a look at all your investments – regardless of where you hold them – to determine if your savings match your plans, or if we can adjust your plans to meet your savings. A lot went into getting you to this stage in your life. Let us help you make sure you get the most out of it.

Call today to schedule a personal financial review. www.edwardjones.com Member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund

Kelvin Saarloos 310 Wellington St., Unit 5, St. Thomas 519-637-0305

Kelly Ruddock 584 Talbot St., St. Thomas 519-633-7824

Scott Carrie 534 Elm St., St. Thomas 519-631-4282

Paul Bode 287 Talbot St. W., Aylmer 519-773-8226

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Robert P Massicotte 300 S Edgeware Rd., Unit 2, St. Thomas 519-633-4334

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HOMESTYLE DECORATING

Designer touches for adding texture by Renée Carpenter

You have the colour, the furniture, the accessories, but something is missing! Could it be texture? It’s the element that will take your décor from basic to designer level. Yes, every surface is made up of some form of texture, but it’s the variety of texture that usually is missing and the way it is put together. Let’s discuss some areas as to where one might start. One of the easiest ways to add texture to a room is with the textiles and fabric being used. Linen can be inviting and cozy, as are chunky wovens and velvets. Bring a mixture of textiles into a room by layering texture to provide even more interest. Adding leather, which is sleek and smooth, provides a great contrast to the nubby fabric. Even multiple types of fabrics can do the trick. Layering can also be done with two types of rugs such as a sisal or jute rug and a vintage killim. Jute or sisal can mimic the floor colour but provides organic woven interest.

“metals are another source of texture, whether antiqued, hammered, sleek or shiny” Fur and hides – even the fluffy stuff – look great on leather and take a flat surface to a new level in a matter of seconds. But texture also goes beyond just textiles. A coffee table can mix the quality of grained wood. Old barn board is being applied to walls, table tops and various other textured ways in herringbone patterns, horizontal or vertical depending on the need of the room. Mix wovens with wood finishes, clear acrylics with metals and ceramics. Lacquered finishes mean they’re smooth to the touch. Metals are another source of texture,

whether antiqued, hammered, sleek or shiny. These can be in the form of tables, planters, ceiling and lamp fixtures or even accessories. Many of you may still have wainscoting from years past in your home, which provides a great texturing opportunity. White walls get dimensional with the use of wainscoting and even bead board. Paint it all out the same colour but allow the texture to just be present. Nature is a great way to textural source. Add a plant or simple arrangement and you have instant impact. Small details in a room like nailhead trim and accessories, woven baskets, books, afghan throws, and even water elements make a difference. A great way to add texture is in the use of tufting – just one more reason to love the classic Chesterfield. I also like the classic use of pintucking on bedding and toss pillows which is small gathers

Karen Vecchio,

that take a flat weave of fabric and make them magical. Wallpaper is the latest trend in bringing texture to a room – and with the new Sure Strip, it is simpler than ever to not only apply but to remove when ready. Choose a complex pattern or, for a more low-key look, go with a grasscloth. Even with the use of variations in tones of tile on your backsplash or tub area can make the tiles textural. It’s all about variety, playing up contrast and detail. Use it to your decorating advantage! Renée Carpenter owns Jennings Furniture & Design & Stage It With Jennings in St. Thomas.

M.P.

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Healthy Living EVERYDAY HEALTH

A way to reduce health care wait times by Dr. Greg Johnston B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

Recently there has been some mention in the local media with regard to wait times for health care. This past December, the Fraser Institute released its most recent report regarding wait times across Canada. A follow-up article in the National Post titled, The Death of Timely Health Care: A Post-Mortem, discussed the results. The Fraser Institute is a national research institute with a mission to “improve the quality of life for Canadians by studying, measuring, and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship, and choice on their wellbeing.” Such organizations perform research and promote advocacy regarding a variety of topics including social policy, politics, healthcare, technology, the military and culture. The Fraser Institute web address is fraserinstitute.org. This year’s report states that there has been no improvement in wait times over the past three years. While St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital boasts one of the best Emergency wait times in Ontario, waits generally in Canada are almost twice as long as they were in 1993. And physicians consistently informed the institute that patients are waiting longer than is clinically reasonable. Before going further, I want to be clear that there are many successes in our health care system, and the philosophy of our system is extremely admirable. But it is also clear that many people are waiting too long in pain, unable to work, and worst of all, risk having their conditions worsen, because they have to wait longer than is clinically advisable to receive treatment. The controversial crux of the problem revolves around one of the major tenets of the Canada Health Act. That federal piece of legislation establishes conditions that provinces and territories must meet in order to receive funding. The Act revolves around five main principles: public administration, comprehensiveness, universality, portability and accessibility. Arguably, the principle of universality is the most controversial and often pointed to as a juggernaut in our system. In general, the concept of universality states that all residents are entitled to the same level of care. The interpretation of this principal has historically meant that any mention of including forms of private healthcare is considered taboo. It has been assumed that, if private healthcare were to be included, those with high incomes would have access to better and timelier healthcare. Those with low incomes would only have access to, again, what seems to be interpreted as, lesser care. Unfortunately, in Canada we have mistakenly held to this belief to the detriment of our health care system and in the face of indisputable successes of blended private and public health care systems in other countries around February, 2016

“any mention of including forms of private healthcare is considered taboo”

Dr. Greg Johnston is a Chiropractor the world. These countries have successful and partner in Family Health universal health care systems that include both Options Treatment & Resources private and public sectors, with legislation to Centre in St.Thomas ensure the concept of universality while maximizing the positive aspects of both sectors to create more efficient and cost-effective care. The National Post article says, “They do all this not in spite of their commitment to universal health care, but because it helps them better deliver on that promise.” Call for your Free Consultation with Not so very long ago, Brandi Pisek, DD or Mike V. Pisek, DD! Canada was known for Walk in patients and new patients having one of the best healthcare systems in are always welcome. the world. This can be All insurance plans are accepted the case again, but we (financing available). need to redefine the concept of universality. Come visit us today and let’s get started We need to take anothon the road to a fantastic smile. er look at the inclusion of private health care as a means to help im• Full & Partial Dentures prove the effectiveness and efficiency of our • Dentures on Implants system. Many successful models exist around • Same Day Relines & Repair the world and legislation can be created to • Invisible Clasps (No Metal) ensure that everyone has access to top quality • Financing Available and timely health care. As our population ages and greater demands are being placed on 989 Talbot Street, St.Thomas our healthcare system, 519-631-3130 it must evolve to conwww.pisekdentureclinic.com tinue to be sustainable.

A NEW SMILE STARTS WITH US!

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Lifestyle TIME ON MY HANDS

A Valentine’s story with legs It started with serendipity at Mariposa By Duncan Watterworth

All my life I have been blessed with more than my share of dumb luck, or its floralscented cousin: serendipity. And Valentine’s Day reminds me of my greatest blessing: my wife Barb. Anyone who knows us knows I got the best of that deal. She is clearly the brains and heart of the outfit. It was pure serendipity that we bumped into each other at the Mariposa Folk Festival on Toronto Island in 1974. We had a “Hey, you’re from Aylmer” moment, and then we spent the rest of the day together. We had both attended East Elgin Secondary School, but I was two years older. I don’t think we had ever spoken. She admits to having noticed the older boy in the purple satin pirate shirt. Anyway, in that flowers-in-our-hair crowd, I noticed those long legs, and I still remember thinking, I bet she would be really good in … actually, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should mention that we were both in university, me at Western and she in pharmacy at U. of T., and we were both home for the summer. Tennis was my sport in those days and, as I started to say, I figured with those legs she would be good in tennis. So that’s how it all started, our “how we met” story. Better than stumbling into each other after last call in the Aylmer Hotel, or on Hook-up.com. I courted her over tennis the rest of that summer. Love blossomed, and a long-distance 401 romance ensued. Then we put our compatibility to a true challenge: backpacking for a summer in South America. We shared long bus rides, cold Andean hotel rooms, food poisoning, hitching a ride to Machu Picchu in a garbage truck, and other great adventures.

And after all that, we were still in love. We married, moved to St. Thomas, and I started my law practice, all at the same time. Her dog came with us – it was a package deal – and she has never been without one, or sometimes two. Barb has a patient and nurturing nature, which has benefited many pets and plants, as well as our daughter and me. She is most happy, I think, in the kitchen, making pies, humming to herself, stepping over the dog – sprawled at her feet – for the umpteenth time, and perhaps sipping wine. But she also has a very practical, businesslike, organized side, which has benefitted her pharmacy career, but has also kept our household and me functioning at acceptable levels. My other great blessing, of course, is our daughter Brooke, for whom I must also thank Barb. Brooke has drawn from the best attributes of both parents, which is to say, she is a lot like her mother. And now Barb and I have been married for thirty-odd years, and have spent the last few Valentines Days on the Redneck Riviera of northern Florida. I don’t remember exactly what we did last February 14, but we probably ran on the beach (with the dog), and perhaps went paddling on one of those cypress-lined rivers with the gators and manatees. And then went to the local seafood joint for beer and oysters, or the local BBQ joint for beer and ribs. Whatever we did, I know I was with the love of my life. And this romance still has legs. Duncan Watterworth is a life-long resident of Elgin County and a retired lawyer. He can be reached at duncanetm@gmail.com.

Above: Love blossomed for Duncan and Barb through many adventures in the early days. Below: They bumped into each other at Mariposa in 1974.

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LIFESTYLE THAT’S LIFE

Writing life begins with a touch of fiction by Elizabeth VanHooren

We became a Lego family about two years ago; aYou know the boxes of things that have moved with you from the home you grew up in … to university, back home again and then to your first house? It was in one of those boxes I recently found the autobiography I wrote when I was 12 years old. I’m sharing it with you because, well, at this point in my life I actually enjoy laughing at myself. The punctuation is as it was then; anything in brackets is my commentary today. I guess you could say I was a Valentine’s gift to my family. Friday February 13, 1975 at 3 a.m. at the Tillsonburg Memorial Hospital. I was a happy 8lb baby girl. A little late on arrival but I was there! I don’t remember much about those early years except what Mom has told me. The farthest back I can remember back is when I started school. I was sure excited! Mostly about riding that big yellow bus! (You can tell how exciting this part of my life was by the liberal use of exclamation points!) In grade two I was playing on the bicycle rack and fell head first onto the pavement. The principal had to phone my Mom because the great big goose bump on my head didn’t feel too good. Then right the next week I threw a baton in the air and it came crashing down on my head! A total repeat of above. In the spring of my third grade of school, I got my bike out, rode it up the laneway was coming back and I couldn’t remember how to use my brakes and crashed right into the barnyard fence. The bike was all right but I had skinned my nose! Just last year I had my hair cut off after wearing it in braids for years. (Apparently, at 12 years old I only considered self-inflected wounds to be defining life experiences. The bike incident was more traumatic then I let on – I had a concussion and ended up staying one night in the hospital.) My family is very large with 6 people in it though we always get along great! (I go on to provide the full name and age of each family member, possibly to fill two pages as assigned by my teacher.) We live on a little farm. My family has never travelled outside the Ontario border. (Oh the horrors! Not sure if this was a dig at my parents for not taking us all to Disneyland – surely all my friends had been there by this time in their lives.)

Just recently we got our cat named Rosy and her kitten Brucey. Spook our dog is a black half cocker spaniel and half poodle. (Any good autobiography provides details of your pets. While I remember Spook fondly I have no idea who Rosy was, and neither do my parents. Perhaps a little creative license?) I don’t have any hobbies, at this point. (You think I would have used that creative licence here to develop the paragraph.) My plans for the future are clear in my mind, I want to help people, I want to become a teacher. My grades are high so I have a good chance. (I applied to teacher’s college and was accepted but ended up completing a degree in journalism instead.)

(And to close…) My life is great maybe not to some people, but I’ll keep it! (True then and even more so now – but I think I might be able describe it just a little better today.)

Martingale Terrace Street Now Open

Taking Deposits Now! at the Mapleridge Model Home at 1 Bridle Path

Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority February, 2016

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