Tuesday, April 21st22.4°C
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Ron Cannan

Economic highlights

When I get the chance to spend a week or two working back in the riding, as I currently am during Easter break, I like to touch base with companies that impact our local economy to see how they are doing.

Recently I sat down with Michael J and Katie from Big White, Pilar Portela CEO of Accelerate Okanagan, and Anne Denman Managing Director for Bardel Entertainment, one of the leading animation firms in North America.

Part of our discussion was about a newly completed study, which confirms what we have suspected for some time; our local tech sector is successfully competing with the best in the world. 

The Economic Impact Report released by Accelerate Okanagan shows that in 2013, the Okanagan tech industry contributed over one billion dollars to our local economy. 

The report also confirms that the tech industry is a major source of employment, attracting a younger, well paid workforce to the community, as well as providing high-skilled employment opportunities for many of our young graduates.  

According to the report 558 local technology businesses collectively employ a workforce of 6551 employees, with one quarter of the workforce represented by women.

However, a shortage of skilled workers poses a real challenge to our tech sector, as employers compete with companies around the world to attract the best and brightest. 

Accelerate Okanagan and companies like Bardel Entertainment believe Big White can play an important role because the top notch activities and amenities offered by Big White are an attractive incentive to employees looking not only for a great job, but also a good quality of life.

Creative, innovative thinking like this is what makes the Okanagan such a great place to do business.  I want to thank talented and committed folks like Anne, Pilar, Michael J, Katie, and all the other unsung heroes who continue to look for ways to attract the best and brightest to the Okanagan, support our local economy, and showcase the Okanagan to the world.

 

Canada 150 Circulation Coin Design Contest

To celebrate Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint is inviting Canadians to design the 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent, one-dollar and two-dollar coins that will circulate in 2017.

The contest is open until April 30, 2015.

Designs should relate to one of five designs:

  • Our Wonders (Canada’s beauty, from nature to monuments)
  • Our Character (Values or principles which define Canadian identity)
  • Our Achievements (Discoveries, exploration or victories)
  • Our Passions (From culture to sports, to pastimes)
  • Canada’s future (this category is reserved for Canadians 12-years of age and under for the 25-cent coin)

The winning design per category will be selected by Canadians in an online vote in September 2015. Each circulation coin denomination will feature one of the winning designs in 2017.

To enter a design and to obtain full contest rules and regulations, please visit www.mint.ca/canada150.

Good luck everyone!

 

On a final note, I hope you all have a great Easter break.  I am in the riding until April 17th so please don’t hesitate to contact my office at [email protected] or by calling 250 470-5075 if you wish to meet.



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Local women shine in National spotlight

Each year, International Women’s Day (March 8th) provides Canadians with the opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and their extraordinary potential, across the country and around the world.

As we honour and support the women in our communities, I wanted to bring to your attention recent notable achievements by some of our fellow citizens in Kelowna-Lake Country.

First, I want to congratulate Carole Gordon, this year’s recipient of the Gert Beadle award for her dedication to women’s equality and social justice. Every year, the Gert Beadle Award recognizes the value of invisible work done at the community level to enhance women’s equality.

Secondly, our Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable K. Kellie Leitch, invited Renee Wasylyk, CEO of Troika Developments, to accompany her to New York  this week to speak at the 59th session of United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).  The UNCSW is a commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and the principal global policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women.

Renee is also a recipient of a 2015 Influential Women in Business Award, which recognizes BC business women and their influence in some of Canada’s largest companies.

I also want to acknowledge the achievement of Laurie Koss, whose beautiful illustrations of pansies will be part of Canada Post’s annual floral series stamp collection. 

It was a pleasure to join Laurie at the unveiling ceremony at Hambleton Galleries on March 2.

The two stamps each feature a colourful pansy variety: the yellow-accented true blue 'Delta Premium Pure Light Blue' and the 'Midnight Glow' Icicle Pansy in shades of purple, pink, orange and yellow. 

Pansies are a great favourite of many gardeners across Canada and Laurie’s gorgeous illustrations which Canada Post describes as an “intense and intimate study of natural form, light and movement of the flower” will no doubt be popular with stamp users and collectors.

You can see pictures of Laurie’s pansies at www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/pr/2015/2015_pansies.jsf .

Of course this is not the first time a local Kelowna-Lake Country artist has been honoured nationally.

Daphne Odjig, the driving force behind the Indian Group of Seven, was also honoured by Canada Post when it featured three of her paintings on Canadian postage stamps in February 2011.

Kendra (Smith) Dixson had two of her designs chosen by the Royal Canadian Mint for its 2014 Fine Silver Coins O Canada collection.

And in 2012, the fine folks at Goodman Zissoff Stained Glass Studio were chosen to design and create the exceptional stained glass windows that now adorn the Senate of Canada commemorating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 60th Anniversary of her ascension to the throne.

To all the women in our community who support our families, our economy and make our community’s cultural and social bonds stronger, please accept our heartfelt thanks. 

 

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.

 

 



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.



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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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