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Guest Columnist

Mortgages: RRSP investment

We’re into RRSP season and many of you will be looking at your investments and wondering if you have received the best return on your money. Many will wonder, too, about the security of their investments, especially if they have been invested in stocks and experienced nail-biting moments when the market has been on a roller-coaster ride.

How about an investment that has historically, not only kept its value, but also given above-average returns, and – get this – can pay monthly into your account? We’re talking mortgages here, and what’s more it’s possible to invest in Western Canadian mortgages. That’s right, the mortgages of people like your family, friends, neighbours and business partners.

How does one invest in mortgages and in a manner that’s suitable for an RRSP (and a RRIF or TFSA for that matter)? It can be done through a Mortgage Investment Corporation. What’s that I hear you asking? An MIC is a company created under the Canadian Income Tax Act whereby investors can invest in a pool of Canadian mortgages. Investors’ capital is used to fund Canadian mortgages for residential and commercial properties. Only in Canada, you say? Right, this is strictly a product of the True North, although MICs can accept money from abroad. And secure? Canadian mortgages have a default rate of 0.38 percent compared to 3.4 percent in the U.S.

MICs are subject to strict rules. For, example, they must have at least 20 shareholders with none having more than 10 percent of the capital; they must only invest in Canadian mortgages, eschew land development or construction, and – get this – distribute 100 percent of their income to shareholders as dividends. What’s more, MICs are regulated by no less than three government agencies.

So how can an investor access in an MIC, specifically one offering a pool of Western Canadian mortgages? AP Capital MIC (formerly Alta-Pacific) is almost 80 percent invested in B.C. mortgages, and almost 18 percent in Alberta mortgages. What’s the return like? AP targets a return of 8 to 11 percent annually, and although past performance is no indicator of the future, the fund has kept on target providing returns of 9.45 percent in 2012, 8.07 percent in 2013, and 8.15 percent in 2014. Not your average RRSP return.

AP differs from other MICs in that it gives you a choice of how it pays you dividends. You can choose either an 8 percent per annum dividend paid monthly, with an additional payment at the end of each year in case the annual return is over 8 percent (known as the 13th dividend). Or, you can opt to have your investment grow quicker by re-investing the dividends.

Want to know more? Give me a call.



Chuck Duerden is a Financial Consultant with Septen Financial Ltd. He is an economics graduate from University College London, and comes to Kelowna from after 13 years’ service with the Korean investment promotion agency. He can be reached at 250.575.3798 and [email protected].


SMART Recovery: An Introduction

Hello, my name is Paul Hearnden and I am a facilitator with SMART Recovery. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training.  We are a non-profit group that views addiction as a learned behavior as opposed to a disease or personality fault and offers a support group with a scientifically based method for addiction recovery.

We believe that addictions are learned patterns of behaviour that become stronger over time as a result of pursuing immediate pleasure to relieve discomfort or distress and to feel “normal”. Our addictive behaviours are reinforced and strengthened as we are caught up in the repetitive pattern of giving into overwhelming urges for the short-term relief we crave despite our awareness of the long-term costs to health, relationships, self-esteem and finances that result from such behaviour.

SMART’s approach to recovery is to provide members with tools to evaluate their priorities in life and teach them how to change their self-defeating thinking, emotions, and behaviours in order to reverse these patterns and work towards long-term satisfaction and quality of life. To do this, SMART utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) along with group support to unlearn the destructive behaviours that we have developed over many years.

As opposed to traditional 12-step programs, the SMART program is broken down into four basic stages:

  1. Building and maintaining motivation;
  2. Coping with urges;
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings and behaviours; and,
  4. Living a balanced life.

Whether you’re dealing with substance abuse issues - such as alcohol or narcotics - or destructive compulsive behaviours - such as eating, shopping, sex, or gambling - SMART offers information, tools and techniques that may help replace your self-destructive behaviours with healthier options.

We are open to both men and women and are not associated with any religious, political or ideological group. We run two free open meetings per week to offer support to help deal with the needs of our participants and offer instruction in the tools contained within SMART. When you decide to change your life, especially after years of unhealthy behaviours, it can seem intimidating and overwhelming. The only way to know for sure if SMART can help you is to try. Recovery is difficult, but with persistence, effort and support you can take back your life.

The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry reports that approximately one in ten people have a problem with drugs or alcohol. My goal for these columns is to provide those suffering from addictive behaviour with an avenue for change and also to provide the general public with a perspective on how addictions develop and how those who suffer can take an active role in changing their lives for the better.

For more information please visit our website at www.smartokanagan.org or attend one of our weekly meetings:

  • Tuesdays @ 7 PM at 204-1456 St. Paul Street (Downtown)
  • Thursdays @ 7 PM at The Bridge (Portable 2) 760 Highway 33 West (Rutland)


Thank you for reading.



Paul Hearnden has lived, worked and volunteered in Kelowna for 25 years. After seeing how effective SMART was in helping people overcome their addictions as well as their emotional and behavioral problems he chose to become a facilitator in order to give back to the community. Paul believes that no matter how deeply one’s addictions lie there is always hope for recovery and help if they are willing to pursue it.

IH: Keeping you informed

Column from Erwin Malzer, Interior Health Board Chair

It is with great enthusiasm that I step into my new role as Interior Health Board Chair. In the spirit of new beginnings, I want to provide the community with some highlights from the past year and an update moving forward.

Last year saw many milestones, not the least of which was within our cardiac surgery program. Although based in Kelowna, it serves the entire region, allowing people to receive surgery closer to home rather than travelling to the Lower Mainland. The program recently marked completion of more than 1,000 open heart surgeries and the outcomes have been excellent. The team has really raised the bar and has already been receiving awards.

Building on our successful surgical program, the new Interior Heart & Surgical Centre (IHSC) currently under construction in Kelowna will benefit patients across Interior Health by providing the highest level of medical care ever seen in the Interior, through an integrated critical care facility supported by a full range of clinical supports. The IHSC opens to patients in September 2015.

The $325 million Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital continues to move forward, with an RFP expected to be released to the short-listed proponents in February. This project will enhance access to services and improve patient care through the consolidation of programs currently distributed throughout the hospital.

In August, a terrible accident brought out the best in our employees when a bus crash occurred near Merritt. Forty-four patients were transferred to three of our hospitals: Nicola Valley Hospital & Health Centre in Merritt, Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, and Kelowna General Hospital. Staff, physicians, volunteers and administrators acted quickly to prepare for and treat patients. The board and I were extremely impressed with the quick and professional response.

As in other places in the world, particularly rural areas, recruitment for physicians and expert staff remains a challenge. To further support our communities in ongoing recruitment efforts, Interior Health recently created a recruitment guide, which is now available on the Better Here recruitment website. It is a great resource to support family physician and specialist recruitment.

Looking forward, we can expect to see an even greater focus on health promotion, primary care, integrated community care and chronic disease management to further decrease demand on hospital and residential services. There has been great collaboration occurring between hospitals, family doctors in local Divisions of Family Practice, and community programs.

We continue to promote improved public health as that keeps people home where they want to be and helps relieve pressure on hospitals.

We are also embracing new approaches to care. For example, last year we launched a new surveillance nurse program, where nurses check in and monitor low risk clients via regular phone calls. Interior Health has and will continue to be at the forefront of using technology to meet patient needs. The use of telehealth has grown to include more than 20 different medical fields, with nearly 55,000 patient uses per year throughout Interior Health.

In closing I’d like to recognize the incredible people that make up Interior Health. We have 1,500 physicians, 19,500 staff and over 4,800 volunteers, each one dedicated to doing all they can to contribute to the provision of quality care. Health care is fascinating and complex. It touches each of us at one time or another, often while we are at our most vulnerable time. I am very proud to do my part in helping guide the organization as we meet new challenges and celebrate our successes. 


Reopening your heart

It is difficult to measure the openness of our hearts, but all we have to do is look at the innocence of children at play. They are not guarded with their feelings, laughter, or affection. If you have children you know what I mean. They are completely vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a difficult and scary position for many of us. If you are reading this and your heart is beginning to race, you are not alone. However, vulnerability is key to achieving a deeper connection in our relationships and experiencing the intimacy many of us long for.

I know for myself, I never truly understood what vulnerability was and how important it was. Moreover, I never knew how to become vulnerable and I could never get to the level of intimacy and love that I longed for. In my past I battled with depression and had no idea what exactly to do about it. Eventually I got so sick of feeling that way so I started to study, research and look within. I noticed the more closed my heart was, the further I kept people away in life, be it in dating relationships or even with friends and family.

At the end of last year I finally learned how to truly become open with myself. As a result, I saw that I was the only one in charge of my heart and that being vulnerable was okay. When I faced hurtful situations similar to the ones in my past, I didn’t have to turn to destructive behavior or let my thoughts, feelings and mood go spiraling down. I was in charge of the perception and the reality.

I discovered being vulnerable wasn’t such a scary place to be. It was more enjoyable and it allowed me the freedom to see who I really was. Now I can hug, laugh and show affection like a little child in addition to retaining the wisdom I have gained as an adult. I have never been happier in my life than I am today.

After discovering I no longer had to live my life being depressed, I set off on this journey I am on; to share with others the truth I have learned about love. I know we all wish for a recipe, or a step by step guide that lists all the things we need to do in life to get something we desire. However, love does not work that way and neither does vulnerability. Fortunately each one of you doesn’t require a list. You were all created as unique individuals and each one of you possesses the ability to achieve vulnerability and love.

It’s like being a good parent, there is not a step by step guidebook on how to raise children. Parents experience the process and learn to love more effectively through their experiences. Likewise, it is the same with vulnerability, it needs to be experienced, and before we can experience it, we must be willing to try. With a little practice, some guidance and encouragement I believe you all have what it takes to achieve the love and the life you dream of. I believe each one of you has an innocent inner child living inside of you and once rediscovered and added to the wisdom of your adulthood, love will explode in all areas in your life between your partner, your friendships, career, and yourself as a whole.



David Van Trump is 31 and lives in Kelowna. He explores, studies and writes about love and relationships. He wants to share his passion and experience with all those interested. His goal is to motivate and impact people’s life. You can reach him at www.essentialsoflove.com.

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