Wednesday, March 4th-8.8°C
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Ron Cannan

Tax time

Tax time is not necessarily everyone’s favourite time of year but it might help to know that since 2006, the government has cut taxes over 180 times, reducing the overall tax burden to its lowest level in 50 years and leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families and job-creating businesses.

Once again this year I have posted an annual tax guide online at www.cannan.ca, which outlines the tax cuts available to you, including information on the newest family tax benefits proposed by the government. 

The new tax package for families will benefit every single family with children under the age of 18 in Canada.  Measures include:

1.  Introducing the Family Tax Cut, a federal tax credit that will allow a higher-income spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket. The credit will provide tax relief – capped at $2,000 – for couples with children under the age of 18, effective for the 2014 tax year. Income splitting is helping seniors across the country, which is why the Government is now proposing similar relief for families.

2. Increasing the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) for children under age six. As of January 1, 2015, parents will receive a benefit of $160 per month for each child under the age of six – up from $100 per month. In a year, parents will receive up to $1,920 per child.

3.  Expanding the UCCB to children aged six through 17. As of January 1, 2015, under the expanded UCCB, parents will receive a benefit of $60 per month for children aged six through 17. In a year, parents will receive up to $720 per child. 

4.  Increasing the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age seven, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged seven through 16 and to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit. 

5.  Doubling the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and making it refundable. The maximum amount of expenses that may be claimed under the credit will be doubled from its current limit to $1,000 for the 2014 tax year and subsequent tax years, and the credit will be made refundable effective for the 2015 and subsequent tax years.

 

Online Filing, Paper Filing and Assistance

80% of individual tax returns are now filed electronically.  If you are thinking of filing online for the first time, CRA provides information to help you at www.cra.gc.ca/electronicservices

For those of you who prefer filing a paper return, forms are available from the CRA at www.cra.gc.ca and at Canada Post outlets and Service Canada offices.  You can also call the CRA directly at 1-800-959-8281.

If you need help filing your income tax, assistance is available through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.

In Kelowna, the Seniors Outreach Services Society located at 2055 Benvoulin Court, Suite 102, will help seniors living on a modest income with their tax returns for the current taxation year.  For more information please call 250 861-6180 or send an e-mail to [email protected].  The clinic location is wheelchair accessible and clinics are held year round.

As always, if you have further questions or comments regarding this information, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] or 250 470-5075.  My staff is always ready to help.



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Supporting local organizations

This is the time of year when we learn which of our local non-profit organizations have been successful in their applications for federal funding through the granting programs of departments like Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Canadian Heritage.

Local organizations support a number of initiatives that have a positive impact on the community whether it’s building accessible playgrounds and wheelchair ramps, providing job training to individuals who need help, or staging community events that celebrate our cultural diversity.

Through the ESDC’s Enabling Accessibility Fund for example, a total of $56,564 in grants is being invested in our community to help local organizations support projects to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities: the City of Kelowna will receive $50,000 for its playground improvement project at Ben Lee Park; the Pathways Abilities Society will receive $3,536 to construct a wheelchair ramp; and the Starbright Children's Development Centre will receive $3,028 to install automatic doors at the Centre’s primary entrances.

Over on St. Paul St., the John Howard Society’s One Cup at a Time cafe has received funding through the federal government’s Opportunities Fund to provide vocational training and skills development to clients who are looking for gainful employment. 

Funding through the department of Canadian Heritage’s Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program is supporting Global Citizen Kelowna 2015.  Organized annually by the Intercultural Society of the Central Okanagan under the direction of Executive Director Joyce Brinkerhoff and her team, and with the participation of the many volunteers who make these events happen, the community gets the chance to explore our multicultural roots and traditions through events like Taste of Home, Global Music Fest, and the Artist Eyes on the World photographic, video and art exhibition. 

With events running throughout the next few weeks, I hope everyone will get a chance to attend.  More information is available at globalcitizenkelowna.org

Taxpayer support for organizations like these provides only a fraction of the resources our organizations need to carry out their activities; a great deal of additional fundraising has to be done as well, and often through the efforts of dedicated, caring and compassionate volunteers.

Phyllis MacPherson for example, has dedicated over 30 years of her life to the Lake Country Food Assistance Society, which provides food to those who are in temporary financial difficulty.  The Society is currently trying to raise funds to find a permanent home and recently successfully secured a $100,000 contribution.  It still has another $200,000 or more to go and will need the support of the community to succeed.

The good news is that more local organizations will be receiving federal funding support this year to help them with their important work.

We can also count on the many dedicated citizens who have a passionate commitment to making things better for others and who dedicate themselves year after year to improving the community.  These are the essential ingredients required to build a better community for everyone and Kelowna-Lake Country has them in abundance.

 

The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected].  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.



Opportunity for small businesses

It was busy in the riding prior to my return to Parliament for our winter session, which began on January 26th.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosted a very productive pre-budget round table with community business leaders and my colleague, the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Minister of National Revenue.

Key suggestions for the Government of Canada were to continue to cut red tape, and to simplify, enhance and introduce services to meet the needs of Canadian small businesses so they can focus more of their time on what they do best: creating jobs and economic growth in our communities.

As the Prime Minister announced, the Government intends to make changes to the Canada Small Business Financing Program which will provide more opportunity for small businesses to apply for loans to purchase or improve their land or buildings. The changes to the program will make loans available to more firms by increasing the revenue threshold under which a small business can apply, and will support business start-up and growth by increasing the maximum loan amount and the maximum term length for loans financing the purchase or improvement of land and buildings.

It was a pleasure to represent the Minister of Sport, the Honourable Bal Gosal, at the 2015 Canada Snowboard IPC Para World Cup held at the Big White Ski Resort. Four Sochi Olympians were in attendance, plus a team of four Canadian para-snowboarders. These amazing athletes and ambassadors of sport included John Leslie, Alex Massie, Michelle Salt and Daniel Shoemaker. Thanks to Michael J and his Big White Team for being such a great host!

Our riding also had the opportunity to host the VP of Government Operations for Blackberry, Morgan Elliott. We met with some great innovative start-up companies who are working with Accelerate Okanagan and spent time at the UBCO campus and met with faculty, students and officials of Survive and Thrive Applied Research (STAR). STAR brings together industry, government and the university to bring innovative technologies to market. This was Morgan’s first trip to the Okanagan, hopefully the first of many!

I want to thank Kelowna Legion Branch #26 for organizing an information meeting for our veterans with myself and my colleagues MP Laurie Hawn and MP Dan Albas. The turnout was good and the opportunity to talk was welcomed by our veterans.

While many of the vets had few problems, some were frustrated. That’s what forums are for and we won’t shy away from valid criticisms. That’s our job and we are on their side.

Feedback will be shared with the Minister of Veterans Affairs who, like us, is committed to listening to our veterans and making the system work in a more timely and efficient manner. This is a work in progress and we will continue to work hard to find ways to help our veterans receive the services they deserve. Thanks again to all our veterans for their service and those presently serving and protecting our nation.

Finally, last Friday was my 9th year serving as your Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country. Thank you for this honour and for the privilege to be your voice in Ottawa.





Gov't supports jobs for students

For many years, Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) has been helping local employers create much-needed summer job opportunities for students.   CSJ provides funding for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses to create summer jobs for full-time students (15 to 30 years old) who intend to return to their studies in the next school year. It helps students gain the skills and experience they need to be successful, while earning money for the upcoming school year.

The employer application period for Canada Summer Jobs 2015 is now open. Applications are available at servicecanada.gc.ca/csj and must be submitted by January 30, 2015.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada, in partnership with employers, has helped over six million young Canadians receive experience, training, and skills needed for better jobs.

Investing in students benefits our community, economy and society as a whole; it’s a win-win for both students and employers and I strongly encourage employers to apply for funding and give students the opportunity to develop the skills and gain the work experience they need to be successful.

 

Funding for Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC)

Just before the Christmas break, Minister of Labour and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Dr. Kellie Leitch paid us a visit to announce funding for Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC).

The Minister also participated in a roundtable with the Women's Leadership Network to seek input on entrepreneurship and the 2015 federal budget.

This valuable feedback builds on discussions from the BC Economic Forum: Women as a Catalyst for Growth, held in Vancouver earlier this year.

Working forums like these are focused on identifying barriers and finding potential solutions that will help women fully participate in the BC economy by increasing the number of women in senior leadership, as entrepreneurs, and through greater participation in the trades and emerging sectors.

The project funding for WEC will provide more opportunities for women from all regions of the province to identify ways in which government, corporations and individuals can reach these goals.

Laurel Douglas, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre, and her team do an excellent job ensuring women retain a strong presence in our local economy and across the province of British Columbia. 

I value the relationships Minister Kellie Leitch and our government have and continue to foster with organizations like Women’s Enterprise Centre.  The input we receive through these partnerships is invaluable and helps support our government’s economic priorities of job creation, growth and long-term prosperity for our community and communities throughout the province of British Columbia.

 

The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]  Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.



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About the author...

The Honourable Ron Cannan was first elected as Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country in January, 2006. He was subsequently elected in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections. He is a member of the Conservative Caucus.

On September 13th, 2012 Ron was summoned to be a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and will provide advice to the Government as a member of the Priorities and Planning Sub-Committee on Government Administration.

Ron successfully uses his experience and knowledge as a long-time Kelowna City Councillor and regional government representative to be an effective and enthusiastic champion for his riding and his constituents.

His greatest satisfaction comes from helping local organizations and citizens obtain the support they require from Ottawa. 

He is also dedicated to doing what it takes to ensure that the growing and vibrant communities in his riding continue to thrive and prosper.

He is proud of the partnership and cooperation between federal, provincial and municipal governments which have resulted in significant infrastructure projects including upgrades to Highway 97, expansion of the Kelowna International Airport, a new horticulture strategy for fruit growers, obtaining a full service passport office for Kelowna and addressing critical economic issues such as labour skills shortages.

He works closely with the local Chambers of Commerce and once a year arranges meetings for the Chamber with Cabinet Ministers and senior policy staff in Ottawa to move forward important local issues such as crime prevention and labour skills shortages.

He is also an ardent champion for important community initiatives including homelessness, mental health, women’s resources, and support of arts and culture.

On Parliament Hill, Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee on International Trade since 2006 supporting initiatives which will broaden the economic opportunities for local businesses and businesses Canada-wide.

In previous parliamentary sessions Ron has been a member of the Standing Committee for Government Operations and Estimates, Veteran’s Affairs, Human Resources and Social Development, the Scrutiny of Regulations Committee, and the Standing Committee for Fisheries and Oceans.

Ron is also involved in a variety of inter-parliamentary organizations: he is Vice Chair of the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, and a member of the Canada-Taiwan Friendship group.

As Chair of the Conservative Wine Caucus, Ron works with his colleagues across the country to promote the wine regions of Canada.  Ron tabled Motion 218(formerly Motion 601) which supports direct to consumer purchasing of Canadian wine. His motion became Bill C-311, sponsored by MP Dan Albas, seconded by Ron, which was passed into law on June 28th, 2012.

Prior to entering politics, Ron developed a diverse business background as a small business owner and had several years experience in marketing and sales management working with corporations including Coca-Cola, Costco and Corus Entertainment.
 

Very active in his community, Ron has been a Director for both the Central Okanagan Regional District and the Central Okanagan Hospital Board. Ron also served on the Okanagan University College Access to Training Advisory Board, the Glenmore Elementary School Parents Advisory Council, and the Kelowna Christian School Fund Raising Committee.  He was co-founder of the Okanagan Volunteer Festival. Currently Ron is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna and, along with his wife Cindy, was the honorary Chair of the 2012 Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Ball.

Ron lives a family-oriented and active lifestyle with his wife Cindy. He is the proud father of three daughters and grandfather to three grandsons.  His hobbies include music and sports.




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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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