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Spring 2019 Newsletter 

June 27, 2019

 

Accounting 

Human Resources Solutions

Wealth Management

Company News

 

2019 Tax Measures

 

There are several measures that come into effect for the 2019 tax year.  Here we highlight key changes.

  1. Corporate small business rate reduction: The federal small business tax rate was reduced to 9% from 10% effective January 1, 2019.  In Ontario, the 2019 combined federal and Ontario small business rate is now 12.5%.
     
  2. Canada workers benefit:  The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), replacing the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), will be more generous and more accessible.  The enhanced benefits will commence in early 2020, once the 2019 tax returns are filed.

    For 2019, the maximum credit is $1,335 for single individuals without children and $2,335 for families (couples and single parents). The maximum credit is reduced by 12% of adjusted net income over $12,820 for single individuals without children and $17,025 for families.
     
  3. Enhanced Canada Pension Plan contributions: Starting in 2019, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is being gradually enhanced.  In 2019 the employee / employer contribution rates increased to 5.1% (from 4.95%). Taxpayers will receive a more favourable tax deduction (instead of a tax credit) for the enhanced portion of the CPP contributions. 
     
  4. Passive investment income within a private corporation

    Changes to a Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation’s (CCPC) ability to receive a dividend refund: Investment income earned by a CCPC is subject to a permanent tax portion as well as a refundable tax portion (which is over 1.5 times the permanent tax cost) that is refundable once sufficient taxable dividends are paid by the CCPC.
     

    The government found it offensive when a CCPC which earned both active business income and passive investment income was able to obtain refunds of taxes paid on the investment income while distributing eligible dividends from income taxed at the general corporate rate i.e. active business income that was not taxed at the small business rate.  As such, new rules were introduced to restrict a CCPC’s ability to receive a dividend refund in these situations.
     

    The change is effective for taxation years that begin after 2018.
     

    Changes to access to the small business deduction: There is generally a tax-deferral advantage to retaining funds in a corporation rather than distributing it to shareholders. This advantage is greater on income that is eligible for the small business deduction, as this income is taxed at 12.5% instead of the general rate of 26.5% in Ontario.
     

    Effective for taxation years beginning after 2018, any passive investment income earned in excess of $50,000 by companies in the associated group in the previous calendar year will reduce a company’s ability to access the small business deduction. For every $1 of passive income earned in excess of $50,000 by the associated group, the maximum small business deduction will be reduced by $5. At $150,000 of passive investment income, the associated group’s small business deduction will be eliminated. This results in a significant reduction in the available tax deferral. Passive investment income (formally referred to as “adjusted aggregate investment income”) includes items such as portfolio investment income and rental income. It does not include capital gains on active business assets and qualified small business corporation shares.

     

    The impact of these proposals has been summarized in the below table created by the Ministry of Finance.
    Chart: Active business income qualifying for the small business tax rate
    Ontario has indicated it will not adopt these new passive investment rules, which results in possible tax savings on an integrated basis.
     

  5. Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE): The Ontario budget has implemented a new CARE tax credit available for the 2019 taxation year. This refundable tax credit will be available on up to 75% of eligible childcare costs and is in addition to the existing Child Care Expense Deduction. The maximum amount is based on a number of factors such as the age of the child and if the child has a severe disability. The maximum percentage is based on family income – the percentage is reduced from 75% at $20,000 of family income until it is completely eliminated at $150,000 of family income.
     

    Please see the below chart from the Ontario Ministry of Finance illustrating the impact of the CARE tax credit.
    Chart: CARE by Income

Top of Page

 

2020 Tax Measures

 

Ontario Estate Administrative Tax: The Ontario budget has eliminated the estate administration tax (often referred to as “probate tax”) on the first $50,000 of all taxable estates, effective January 1, 2020. The estate administrative tax rate on the first $50,000 of value was previously 0.5%, so this results in potential savings of $250.

 

Top of Page

 

Farm Exemption for Fuel Charge

 

Tractor Tire view

The Federal Government has been charging a carbon tax through the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Act on all fuel sold in Ontario beginning April 1, 2019. The tax is $0.0442/L on gas and $0.0537/L on diesel (light fuel oil).

 

Effective April 1, 2019, Ontario farmers can receive an exemption for eligible farming activity, such as machinery or farm vehicles, by completing Canada Revenue Agency's form and providing a copy to your fuel distributor. We encourage you to keep a copy with your records. You do not need to provide the form to CRA.

 

The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Act applies increasing fuel charge rates to a broad set of greenhouse gas emission sources in an effort to mitigate climate change. The Government of Ontario has challenged the Act in court and is awaiting the outcome.

 

Top of Page

 

Tech Tip: Using Digital Receipts

 

When it comes time to do your bookkeeping or taxes, are you searching your desk, wallet, purse, cupboards or a shoe box for receipts and forms to drop off to your Bookkeeper or Accountant?  Creating digital forms and receipts can make this easier, though there are some things to consider.

 

Digital versions of forms and receipts can be stored and organized on your computer, email or in the cloud.  Then they can be easily sent to you Bookkeeper or Accountant by email or secure upload through a file sharing service.  Other advantages of digital copies:

  • No worrying about getting the information back from the Bookkeeper or Accountant.
  • PDF versions created with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) can be searched quickly by typing in words ex. part of the supplier name.
  • Over time some receipts start to fade and are hard to read.
  • Digital versions of receipts and forms do not take up space in your office and may be accessible from anywhere.
  • Third party applications can take digital copies of receipts and invoices and automate entries right into some accounting programs.
Woman shopping with card on computer

Unfortunately, pictures taken with your phone can be hard to view, difficult to print, or if emailed, the file size can result in the email not getting to the recipient. 

 

Many suppliers now offer digital copies of invoices and receipts sent directly to your email or you can use a scanner to create PDF copies yourself.  If you do not have a scanner available or handy, you can turn your smartphone into a scanner.  There are many apps for smartphones that make it easy to use the smartphone camera to create PDF copies of receipts, invoices and forms. 

 

Adobe ScanA free App available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  It is quick and simple to use, it can create PDF’s using the camera or you can convert pictures already saved on your smartphone.  The PDF’s are created using OCR to allow searching, saved in the Adobe Cloud where you can organize and access from other devices or share as a link or send as an email attachment.

 

Cloud Storage Services: If you use a cloud storage service such as Google Drive, One Drive, DropBox, or Box, these services have a scanner feature built into their smartphone apps with varying features to create PDF’s.

 

Receipt Bank: Receipt Bank is a tool with a monthly subscription fee that integrates with accounting applications such as QuickBooks Online.  It takes electronic versions of invoices and receipts, automates entries saving time and increasing accuracy. Receipts and invoices can be submitted to Receipt Bank from suppliers and employees directly through an email address or through a mobile app that acts as a scanner.  Once uploaded, Receipt Bank acts as an electronic filing cabinet for your receipts and invoices which can be viewed separately through a web interface or viewed through accounting application when reviewing entries. 

 

As a partner of Receipt Bank, Ward & Uptigrove sells and sets up clients that use QuickBooks Online.  If you interested learning more about Receipt Bank, reach out to your Ward & Uptigrove contact. 

 

Top of Page

 

Fall Leadership 2019

 

Two men and two woman leaning over counter looking at report

This is our 22nd time running this highly successful training program. The Leadership Learning Program is designed to give you and/or your employees the tools to lead and to supervise effectively. It covers leadership and self-awareness, productive time management, communicating for reduced conflict, coaching for engagement and developing high functioning teams.

  • Five consecutive Thursdays October 24, 31, November 7, 14 and 21 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Early bird discount: $925.00 + HST if you sign up & pay before August 31, 2019
  • $995 + HST per participant if you sign up after August 31, 2019

To register or get more information email us at hrresults@w-u.on.ca, call 519-291-3040 or visit wardanduptigrove.com/leadership

 

Top of Page

 

Ontario Labour Law Changes

 

In recent years, employment standards in Ontario have undergone notable adjustments. In order to ensure employers remain informed about these adjustments, the brief guide below helps to increase understanding of the current legislation.

 

The introduction of the Conservative government repealed several changes to Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. As a result, amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 came into effect on January 1, 2019 through Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.

 

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Table 1: Bill 148 vs. Bill 47Table 2: Bill 148 vs. Bill 47

Table 3: Bill 66

Employment Insurance Changes

As of March 2019, the new parental leave benefit of up to five additional weeks of time off work became available to eligible parents. The measure will provide additional Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents agree to share some of the benefits. The sharing benefit is available to eligible birth parents and adoptive parents, including both opposite-sex and same-sex parents.

 

Parents who qualify for EI are eligible to access the sharing benefit based on:

Top of Page

 

Mental Health - Workplace Stress

 

Stress can be positive (Eustress), helping to motivate, excite and focus energy, or it can be negative (Distress), causing anxiety, unpleasant feelings, decreasing performance.   Excessive negative stress, including workplace issues and/or pressures, can contribute to poor mental health, anxiety, depression, and other psychological illnesses.

 

Stress also affects physical well-being.  Usually, the initial symptoms are relatively mild: chronic headaches and increase susceptibility to minor illness such as the common cold.  When bodies experience excessive negative and chronic stress, serious health problems may develop such as heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, weakened immune system, bowel disease, and obesity.

 

Adults, aged 25 to 64, report that work is fairly or even extremely stressful 26% of the time.  This can cause people to feel overwhelmed, impairing or impeding rational and timely decision making.  Negative stress can interrupt or stop business activities, impact productivity, and change businesses and family relationships.  Awareness of typical workplace stressors allows workers to address them before the stress becomes problematic.  Some typical stressors that affect the agricultural industry, for example, include:

  • Poor communication
  • Isolation, working alone
  • Work-life imbalance
  • Conflict and/or Family Disagreements
  • Long hours
  • Volatile markets
  • Machinery breakdowns
  • Weather
  • Unreasonable personal goals
  • Work overload and work underload
Woman and man talking in conference room

Below are five simple stress management techniques everyone can incorporate into their lives, including coping strategies and self-care:

  1. Exercise regularly; it reduces symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.  It gives you energy and makes you feel better.
  2. Assess your mental health from time to time and ask for help when needed. Learn to recognize when someone else may be having a problem and assist them in contacting resources for support. Helping others boosts your self-esteem and improves resilience.
  3. Avoid or limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, drugs, and tobacco. These substances are proven to aggravate stress.
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet according to the Canada Food Guide and drink at least six glasses of water every day to keep hydrated.  A well-nourished body gives you more resources and resiliency to manage stress.
  5. Set aside time each week to do something you are passionate about, such as reading, visiting with friends, meditating, yoga, etc. Having interests that you can “get lost in” increases happiness and creativity.

Workers and employers can implement some simple strategies to manage the workplace stress and personal challenges, to prevent stress from negatively impacting the workplace.

 

Sources:

Spiers, C. 2003 Tools to tackle workplace stress. Occupational Health, 55 (12), 22-25
2009 Coping with Stress, Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – OHS Answers Fact Sheet, Workplace Stress-General, December 18, 2018

 

Top of Page

 

My Service Canada Accounts for Government Benefits

 

Are you receiving one or more of the following government benefits?

If so, the Government of Canada has an online service, My Service Canada Account (MSCA) that allows you to view and update your information.  You can create an account here.

Man sitting on a couch looking at his smartphone

In order to create a MSCA you will require the following:

  • Your social insurance number (SIN)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your access code

Your access code would have been assigned to you when you first registered for the benefit you are receiving.  More information to help you find your access code can be found here.

If you have already created an online account with the Government of Canada, referred to as a GCKey, that same username and password can be used to create your MSCA.

 

For added convenience, the Government of Canada has “Sign-In Partners”, which includes most major financial institutions in Canada, allowing Canadians to use their login credentials for other websites to access their MCSA.  For example, if you have online banking with BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotia, and TD, you can use the same username and password for their websites to access your MCSA.

 

Top of Page

 

Pay Down your Mortgage or Top-Up your TFSA?

 

The question of reducing debt or contributing to savings will continue to be debated for as long as people plan to retire in Canada. Determining which is the best route to take really depends on your individual goals and feelings as well as your unique financial situations.

 

If you can’t decide whether to save or pay off debt, start by contributing to a TFSA; those deposits can easily be withdrawn and applied to your mortgage at a later date if need be.  The annual contribution limit is $6,000 per person and anyone who has never contributed to a TFSA has accrued a lifetime contribution limit of $63,500.

Stucco 2 story house

 

Tax implications are not a consideration as mortgages and TFSAs both deal with after-tax dollars.

To simplify the matter, the question becomes “can I earn more inside my TFSA than I pay in mortgage interest?”  If your mortgage interest is 4% per annum, paying down your mortgage by $10,000 will save you $400 in interest charges each year.  Placing the same $10,000 in your TFSA earning 4% per annum will earn you $400 each year.

 

If you find yourself torn between building a nest-egg and paying off your mortgage, get in touch with your financial planner to set up a conversation to discuss your goals, crunch some numbers and find the right solution for you. Ward & Uptigrove Wealth Management has a team of financial planners that would happy to discuss this or any other wealth management matter with you.

 

Top of Page

 

Small town values. Downtown expertise.

Since 1958, Ward & Uptigrove has been proudly located in Listowel and committed to providing high quality accounting and tax services.  With continued growth, the firm’s consultative approach has brought new integrated services that allow the firm to better serve clients.

 

A premier professional services firm located in the heart of rural Ontario, Ward & Uptigrove aspires to

Top of Page

 

2018 United Way Campaign

 

Ward & Uptigrove helped to kick off United Way Perth-Huron’s 2018 fundraising campaign in Listowel by hosting a bbq, Unite for a Bite, on September 19.  In addition to selling food, we raised money through an ice bucket challenge that Kris Uptigrove and Paul Hak were lucky to win.

 

Our Social Committee also organized a paint night, dress up / down days and donations were gathered to rally together.  Ward & Uptigrove proudly contributed over $20,000 and received a Top 20 Workplace 2018 award!  Congratulations to our employee, Sylvia Behrns, who also received a Volunteer Spirit Award!

 

W&U Ice  Bucket Challenge W&U United Way Donation W&U Receving United Way Award

 

United Way focuses on three impact areas: Strong Communities, From Poverty to Possibility and All That Kids Can Be. 

 

Top of Page

 

Summer Hours

 

During the summer months of July and August, our office will close on Friday at 12 pm for the afternoon.

 

Top of Page

 

New Staff Introductions

 

Ward & Uptigrove has several new employees and is still recruiting for several positions.  If you know someone looking for a career opportunity, our current opportunities are at wardanduptigrove.com/careers

 

We welcome these new staff members!

 

Agriculture Team Business Team      
Michael McMurren Heather Bowman Kyle Sippel Lydia Zehr Patty Zurbrigg
Michael McMurren Heather Bowman Kyle Sippel Lydia Zehr Patty Zurbrigg

 

Tax Team

 

Bookkeeping

Team

 

 

   
Julia Husnik Wesley Brown Jaime Parker Annette Williamson  
Julia Husnik

Wesley Brown

Jaime Parker Annette Williamson  

 

 

Top of Page

 

Ward and Uptigrove Logo

Spring 2019 Newsletter 

June 27, 2019

 

Accounting 

Human Resources Solutions

Wealth Management

Company News

 
2019 Tax Measures

 

There are several measures that come into effect for the 2019 tax year.  Here we highlight key changes.

  1. Corporate small business rate reduction: The federal small business tax rate was reduced to 9% from 10% effective January 1, 2019.  In Ontario, the 2019 combined federal and Ontario small business rate is now 12.5%.
     
  2. Canada workers benefit:  The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), replacing the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), will be more generous and more accessible.  The enhanced benefits will commence in early 2020, once the 2019 tax returns are filed.

    For 2019, the maximum credit is $1,335 for single individuals without children and $2,335 for families (couples and single parents).The maximum credit is reduced by 12% of adjusted net income over $12,820 for single individuals without children and $17,025 for families.
     
  3. Enhanced Canada Pension Plan contributions: Starting 2019, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is being gradually enhanced.  In 2019 the employee / employer contribution rates increased to 5.1% (from 4.95%). Taxpayers will receive a more favourable tax deduction (instead of a tax credit) for the enhanced portion of the CPP contributions. 
     
  4. Passive investment income within a private corporation

    Changes to a Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation’s (CCPC) ability to receive a dividend refund: Investment income earned by a CCPC is subject to a permanent tax portion as well as a refundable tax portion (which is over 1.5 times the permanent tax cost) that is refundable once sufficient taxable dividends are paid by the CCPC.
     

    The government found it offensive when a CCPC which earned both active business income and passive investment income was able to obtain refunds of taxes paid on the investment income while distributing eligible dividends from income taxed at the general corporate rate i.e. active business income that was not taxed at the small business rate.  As such, new rules were introduced to restrict a CCPC’s ability to receive a dividend refund in these situations.
     

    The change is effective for taxation years that begin after 2018.
     

    Changes to access to the small business deduction: There is generally a tax-deferral advantage to retaining funds in a corporation rather than distributing it to shareholders. This advantage is greater on income that is eligible for the small business deduction, as this income is taxed at 12.5% instead of the general rate of 26.5% in Ontario.
     

    Effective for taxation years beginning after 2018, any passive investment income earned in excess of $50,000 by companies in the associated group in the previous calendar year will reduce a company’s ability to access the small business deduction. For every $1 of passive income earned in excess of $50,000 by the associated group, the maximum small business deduction will be reduced by $5. At $150,000 of passive investment income, the associated group’s small business deduction will be eliminated. This results in a significant reduction in the available tax deferral. Passive investment income (formally referred to as “adjusted aggregate investment income”) includes items such as portfolio investment income and rental income. It does not include capital gains on active business assets and qualified small business corporation shares.

     

    The impact of these proposals has been summarized in the below table created by the Ministry of Finance.
    Chart: Active business income qualifying for the small business tax rate
    Ontario has indicated it will not adopt these new passive investment rules, which results in possible tax savings on an integrated basis.
     

  5. Ontario Childcare Access and Relief from Expenses (CARE): The Ontario budget has implemented a new CARE tax credit available for the 2019 taxation year. This refundable tax credit will be available on up to 75% of eligible childcare costs and is in addition to the existing Child Care Expense Deduction. The maximum amount is based on a number of factors such as the age of the child and if the child has a severe disability. The maximum percentage is based on family income – the percentage is reduced from 75% at $20,000 of family income until it is completely eliminated at $150,000 of family income.
     

    Please see the below chart from the Ontario Ministry of Finance illustrating the impact of the CARE tax credit.

Top of Page

 
2020 Tax Measures

 

Ontario Estate Administrative Tax: The Ontario budget has eliminated the estate administration tax (often referred to as “probate tax”) on the first $50,000 of all taxable estates, effective January 1, 2020. The estate administrative tax rate on the first $50,000 of value was previously 0.5%, so this results in potential savings of $250.

 

Top of Page

 
Farm Exemption for Fuel Charge

 

The Federal Government has been charging a carbon tax through the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Act on all fuel sold in Ontario beginning April 1, 2019. The tax is $0.0442/L on gas and $0.0537/L on diesel (light fuel oil).

 

Effective April 1, 2019, Ontario farmers can receive an exemption for eligible farming activity, such as machinery or farm vehicles, by completing Canada Revenue Agency's form and providing a copy to your fuel distributor. We encourage you to keep a copy with your records. You do not need to provide the form to CRA.

 

The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Act applies increasing fuel charge rates to a broad set of greenhouse gas emission sources in an effort to mitigate climate change. The Government of Ontario has challenged the Act in court and is awaiting the outcome.

 

Top of Page

 
Tech Tip: Using Digital Receipts

 

When it comes time to do your bookkeeping or taxes, are you searching your desk, wallet, purse, cupboards or a shoe box for receipts and forms to drop off to your Bookkeeper or Accountant?  Creating digital of forms and receipts can make this easier, though there are some things to consider.

 

Digital versions of forms and receipts can be stored and organized on your computer, email or in the cloud.  Then they can be easily sent to you Bookkeeper or Accountant by email or secure upload through a file sharing service.  Other advantages of digital copies:

  • No worrying about getting the information back from the Bookkeeper or Accountant.
  • PDF versions created with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) can be searched quickly by typing in words ex. part of the supplier name.
  • Over time some receipts start to fade and are hard to read.
  • Digital versions of receipts and forms do not take up space in your office and may be accessible from anywhere.
  • Third party applications can take digital copies of receipts and invoices and automate entries right into some accounting programs.

 

Unfortunately, pictures taken with your phone can be hard to view, difficult to print, or if emailed, the file size can result in the email not getting to the recipient. 

 

Many suppliers now offer digital copies of invoices and receipts sent directly to your email or you can use a scanner to create PDF copies yourself.  If you do not have a scanner available or handy you can turn your smartphone into a scanner.  There are many apps for smartphones that make it easy to use the smartphone camera to create PDF copies of receipts, invoices and forms. 

 

Adobe ScanA free App available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  It is quick and simple to use, it can create PDF’s using the camera or you can convert pictures already saved on your smartphone.  The PDF’s are created using OCR to allow searching, saved in the Adobe Cloud where you can organize and access from other devices or share as link or send as an email attachment.

 

Cloud Storage Services: If you use a cloud storage service such as Google Drive, One Drive, Drop Box, or Box, these services have a scanner feature built into their smartphone apps with varying features to create PDF’s.

 

Receipt Bank: Receipt Bank is a tool with a monthly subscription fee that integrates with accounting applications such as QuickBooks Online.  It takes electronic versions of invoices and receipts, automates entries saving time and increasing accuracy. Receipts and invoices can be submitted to Receipt Bank from suppliers and employees directly through an email address or through a mobile app that acts as a scanner.  Once uploaded, Receipt Bank acts as an electronic filing cabinet for your receipts and invoices which can be viewed separately through a web interface or viewed through accounting application when reviewing entries. 

 

As a partner of Receipt Bank, Ward & Uptigrove sells and sets up clients that use QuickBooks Online.  If you interested learning more about Receipt Bank, reach out to your Ward & Uptigrove contact. 

 

Top of Page

 
Fall Leadership 2019

 

hand with pen and calculator

This is our 22nd time running this highly successful training program. The Leadership Learning Program is designed to give you and/or your employees the tools to lead and to supervise effectively. It covers leadership and self-awareness, productive time management, communicating for reduced conflict, coaching for engagement and developing high functioning teams.

  • Five consecutive Thursdays October 24, 31, November 7, 14 and 21 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
  • Early bird discount: $925.00 + HST if you sign up & pay before August 31, 2019
  • $995 + HST per participant if you sign up after August 31, 2019

To register or get more information email us at hrresults@w-u.on.ca, call 519-291-3040 or visit wardanduptigrove.com/leadership

 

Top of Page

 
Ontario Labour Law Changes

 

In recent years employment standards in Ontario have undergone notable adjustments. In order to ensure employers remain informed about these adjustments, the brief guide below helps to increase understanding of the current legislation.

 

The introduction of the Conservative government repealed several changes to Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. As a result, amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 came into effect on January 1, 2019 through Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018.

 

Employment Standards Act, 2000

Table 1: Bill 148 vs. Bill 47 Table 2: Bill 148 vs. Bill 47

 Table 3: Bill 66

 

Employment Insurance Changes

As of March 2019 the new parental leave benefit of up to five additional weeks of time off work became available to eligible parents. The measure will provide additional Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents agree to share some of the benefits. The sharing benefit is available to eligible birth parents and adoptive parents, including both opposite-sex and same-sex parents.

 

Parents who qualify for EI are eligible to access the sharing benefit based on:

  • the date of birth of their newborn child; or
  • the date that the child is placed with them for the purpose of adoption.

Top of Page

 
Mental Health - Workplace Stress

 

Stress can be positive (Eustress), helping to motivate, excite and focus energy, or it can be negative (Distress), causing anxiety, unpleasant feelings, decreasing performance.   Excessive negative stress, including workplace issues and/or pressures, can contribute to poor mental health, anxiety, depression, and other psychological illnesses.

 

Stress also affects physical well-being.  Usually, the initial symptoms are relatively mild: chronic headaches and increase susceptibility to minor illness such as the common cold.  When bodies experience excessive negative and chronic stress, serious health problems may develop heart disease, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, weakened immune system, bowel disease, and obesity.

 

Adults, aged 25 to 64, report that work is fairly or even extremely stressful 26% of the time.  This can cause people to feel overwhelmed, impairing or impeding rational and timely decision making.  Negative stress can interrupt or stop business activities, impact productivity, and change businesses and family relationships.  Awareness of typical workplace stressors allows workers to address them before the stress becomes problematic.  Some typical stressors that affect the agricultural industry, for example, include:

  • Poor communication
  • Isolation, working alone
  • Work-Life imbalance
  • Conflict and/or Family Disagreements
  • Long hours
  • Volatile markets
  • Machinery breakdowns
  • Weather
  • Unreasonable personal goals
  • Work overload and work underload

Below are five simple stress management techniques everyone can incorporate into their lives, including coping strategies and self-care:

  1. Exercise regularly; it reduces symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety, gives you energy and makes you feel better.
  2. Assess your mental health from time to time and ask for help when needed. Learn to recognize when someone else may be having a problem and assist them in contacting resources for support. Helping others boosts your self-esteem and improves resilience.
  3. Avoid or limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, drugs, and tobacco. These substances are proven to aggravate stress.
  4. Eat a well-balanced diet according to the Canada Food Guide and drink at least six glasses of water every day to keep hydrated.  A well-nourished body gives you more resources and resiliency to manage stress.
  5. Set aside time each week to do something you are passionate about, such as reading, visiting with friends, meditating, yoga, etc. Having interests that you can “get lost in” increases happiness and creativity.

Workers and employers can implement some simple strategies to manage the workplace stress and personal challenges, to prevent stress from negatively impacting the workplace.

 

Sources:

Spiers, C. 2003 Tools to tackle workplace stress. Occupational Health, 55 (12), 22-25
2009 Coping with Stress, Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – OHS Answers Fact Sheet, Workplace Stress-General, December 18, 2018

 

Top of Page

 
My Service Canada Accounts for Government Benefits

 

Are you receiving one or more of the following government benefits?

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Old Age Security (OAS)
  • Employment Insurance (EI)

If so, the Government of Canada has an online service, My Service Canada Account (MSCA) that allows you to view and update your information.  You can create an account here.

In order to create a MSCA you will require the following:

  • Your social insurance number (SIN)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your access code

Your access code would have been assigned to you when you first registered for the benefit you are receiving.  More information to help you find your access code can be found here.

If you have already created an online account with the Government of Canada, referred to as a GCKey, that same username and password can be used to create your MSCA.

 

For added convenience, the Government of Canada has “Sign-In Partners”, which includes most major financial institutions in Canada, allowing Canadians to use their log in credentials for other websites to access their MCSA.  For example, if you have online banking with BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotia, and TD, you can use the same username and password for their websites to access your MCSA.

 

Top of Page

 
Pay Down your Mortgage or Top-Up your TFSA?

 

The question of reducing debt or contributing to savings will continue to be debated for as long as people plan to retire in Canada. Determining which is the best route to take really depends on your individual goals and feelings as well as your unique financial situations.

 

If you find you just can’t decide whether to save or pay off debt, start by contributing to a TFSA; those deposits can easily be withdrawn and applied to your mortgage at a later date if need be.  The annual contribution limit is $6,000 per person and anyone who has never contributed to a TFSA has accrued a lifetime contribution limit of $63,500.

 

Tax implications are not a consideration as mortgages and TFSAs both deal with after-tax dollars.

  • Any additional payments against your mortgage or sent to your TFSA will be after you have paid income tax on those dollars.
  • There is no reduction in taxable income for making contributions to a TFSA.
  • The capital gain from the home (assuming it’s your principal residence) and any growth and withdrawals from your TFSA will not be subject to income tax.   

To simplify the matter, the question becomes “can I earn more inside my TFSA than I pay in mortgage interest?”  If your mortgage interest is 4% per annum, paying down your mortgage by $10,000 will save you $400 in interest charges each year.  Placing the same $10,000 in your TFSA earning 4% per annum will earn you $400 each year.

 

If you find yourself torn between building a nest-egg and paying off your mortgage, get in touch with your financial planner to set up a short conversation to discuss your goals, crunch some numbers and find the right solution for you. Ward & Uptigrove Wealth Management has a team of financial planners that would happy to discuss this or any other wealth management matter with you.

 

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Small town values. Downtown expertise.

Since 1958, Ward & Uptigrove has been proudly located in Listowel and committed to providing high quality accounting and tax services.  With continued growth, the firm’s consultative approach has brought new integrated services that allow the firm to better serve clients.

 

A premier professional services firm located in the heart of rural Ontario, Ward & Uptigrove aspires to

  • Care for our team and clients so that we all succeed.
  • Be a part of a community that is more than just digital.
  • Operate with trust, respect and effective communication.
  • Have innovation continue to thrive.

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2018 United Way Campaign

 

Ward & Uptigrove helped to kick off United Way Perth-Huron’s 2018 fundraising campaign in Listowel by hosting a bbq, Unite for a Bite, on September 19.  In addition to selling food, we raised money through an ice bucket challenge that Kris Uptigrove and Paul Hak were lucky to win! 

 

Our Social Committee also organized a paint night, dress up / down days and donations were gathered to rally together.  Ward & Uptigrove proudly contributed over $20,000 and received a Top 20 Workplace 2018 award!  Congratulations to our employee, Sylvia Behrns, who also received a Volunteer Spirit Award!

W&U Ice  Bucket Challenge W&U United Way Donation W&U Receving United Way Award

 

United Way focuses on three impact areas: Strong Communities, From Poverty to Possibility and All That Kids Can Be. 

 

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Summer Hours

 

During the summer months of July and August, our office will close Friday at 12 pm for the afternoon.

 

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New Staff Introductions

 

Ward & Uptigrove has several new employees and is still recruiting for several positions.  If you know someone looking for a career opportunity, our current opportunities are at wardanduptigrove.com/careers

 

We welcome these new staff members!

 

Agriculture Team

  • Michael McMurren

Business Team

  • Heather Bowman
  • Kyle Sippel
  • Lydia Zehr
  • Patty Zurbrigg

Tax Team

  • Julia Husnik

Bookkeeping Team

  • Wesley Brown
  • Jaime Parker
  • Annette Williamson  

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