11 Aug 2011

Back-to-school spending expected to underwhelm

As Canadian parents and students prepare for back-to-school shopping, a new report from the accountancy firm Ernst and Young says retailers likely won't see profits rise in what is typically a busy time for them."Back to school is the second most important season on the retail calendar," said Daneil Baer, who heads Ernst and Young's retail and wholesale industry division. "Although lower than their peak levels, higher gas and grocery bills have reduced consumers' disposal income, as inflation continues to outpace salary increases."Another reason why sales will likely be lower this year, according to the source, has to do with higher commodity prices for materials like cotton.Despite the anticipated slowdown in back-to-school purchases, the firm says losses won't be significant, as parents typically consider these types of purchases as needs rather than wants.The report further states that school supplies are expected to be among the buys taking precedence. Portable storage containers may want to be purchased in addition to these…

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10 Aug 2011

While most Canadians think obtaining a college education is crucial to future success, individuals living in the eastern portion of the country are particularly resolute in this belief. According to a new survey conducted by TD Canada Trust, Atlantic Canadians are the most convinced a post-secondary degree helps people land a job when they enter the employment hunting market. Despite this belief, many of these same people admit to worrying about the cost of student loans, as 71 percent report feeling either anxious or stressed about paying off what they owe in tuition bills. "We know that managing finances on your own can be stressful or even intimidating," said Michelle Snow, group manager for the banking organization. "Financial literacy is…

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10 Aug 2011

The Certified General Accounts Association of Canada says the country's tax system is too complex and needs to be simplified.CGA-Canada recently released its study, titled "The Need for Tax Simplification – A Challenge and an Opportunity." In it, the study's authors say little has been done to make the filing system more streamlined, which is ultimately affecting Canada's status in the world, as other countries have simpler systems."Canada's tax system is among the most complex in the world, which hurts our economy and adversely affects small and medium size enterprises and individual taxpayers," said Anthony Ariganello, president and CEO of CGA-Canada. "We believe tax simplification is good for taxpayers, businesses, governments and our economy."Ariganello added the only way Canadians will…

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9 Aug 2011

One of the worst things Canadian consumers can do is to buy a product or service without being aware of all it has to offer. And according to a new poll, many Canadians are doing just that when they purchase various insurance plans.According to Allstate Canada, a whopping 71 percent of Canadians admitted to being unclear about what their insurance policies included. For instance, one in four said they weren't sure if their auto insurance plan covered them should they be involved in a traffic accident. All standard Canadian auto insurance policies include collision coverage."While we understand insurance policies may not offer the most entertaining read, if people are not fully aware of what their coverage entitles them to or…

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8 Aug 2011

A new poll conducted by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce finds that Ontarians have a higher level of debt when compared to others living in the country.The CIBC survey indicates approximately 74 percent of Ontario residents have some type of significant payment they have yet to take care of, compared to 72 percent nationwide.Despite this high number, however, 63 percent report making "good progress" on lowering their debt, doing such things as making a lump sum payment, implementing a household budget or making a significant sacrifice in their typical spending behavior."Managing debt as part of their overall financial plan is top of mind for Ontario residents in 2011, and these latest poll results show that some progress is being…

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5 Aug 2011

With gas prices at record levels and few indications they will come down any time soon, bicycle use has taken off, according to the Canadian Press. Toronto resident Robert Lendvai is one such bicycle rider, who told the paper he has taken one of his family's cars off the road, opting to take his bike to work instead. Other residents told the paper they are taking advantage of the city's bike sharing program, Bixi, which was launched in May. Susan Shaheen, who heads the Innovative Mobility Program at the University of California, told the source Toronto's trending away from car ownership and toward alternative sources of travel are a growing theme throughout North America. "I definitely sense some sort of…

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5 Aug 2011

A new study is indicating Canadian parents may not be as vigilant as they should be when giving their kids toys to play with.According to a recent survey conducted by retailing giant Toys "R" Us, more than half – 52 percent – of Canadian parents with children do not check to see if a toy has been subject to any manufacturers' recalls before handing it over to their kids.The survey was conducted to promote the toy retailer's "Great Trade-In" event, which will be held through August 21st. Toronto parents who bring in toys, strollers, cribs, car seats or other products that may be defective or hazardous to children may be eligible to receive 20 percent off a child-centered product from…

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5 Aug 2011

Movie subscription service Netflix has been in Canada for less than a year, and already, more than 1 million members have signed up.To celebrate the occasion, Netflix awarded the country's one-millionth member, Amanda James, with a lifetime membership."I'm excited to be the millionth Canadian member," said James, who's originally from Manitoba. "Netflix is something I enjoy with my family and I look forward to continue watching our favorite movies and TV shows via Netflix in the future."Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of the company, said he couldn't be happier that his subscription-based movie service has taken off the way it has."We're thrilled that Canadians have embraced Netflix so rapidly," said Hastings. "Our focus remains on building up the breadth and…

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4 Aug 2011

Toronto's real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down, as a recent report from the Toronto Real Estate Board makes plain.According to the TREB, there were more than 7,920 transactions last month, an increase of nearly 25 percent when compared to the same 30-day period last year. The average selling price for a Toronto home was $459,112 – up 10 percent year-over-year.Based on July's results, the real estate organization projects 90,000 homes will be sold in 2011."Strong home sales continued in July, with a substantial rebound over last summer’s slow-down brought about by higher mortgage rates [and] new lending guidelines," said Richard Silver, TREB president. "If the current pace of sales holds up, we could see the second…

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3 Aug 2011

A disorderly workstation may not only diminish someone's ability to work in a productive fashion, but it may also prevent them from advancing in their company, according to a new CareerBuilder.ca survey.The job search website polled 230 managers and 420 workers between May and June, and found that one-third of employers said they'd be less likely to promote their employees if they had a disorganized desk."While chaos on your desk space can indicate a busy workload, it can also imply a lack of organization," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "The good news is that workers can fix this problem quickly and reverse any negative perceptions of their performance."Haefner offered several solutions to paper-piling problems, including…

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3 Aug 2011

A disorderly workstation may not only diminish someone's ability to work in a productive fashion, but it may also prevent them from advancing in their company, according to a new CareerBuilder.ca survey.The job search website polled 230 managers and 420 workers between May and June, and found that one-third of employers said they'd be less likely to promote their employees if they had a disorganized desk."While chaos on your desk space can indicate a busy workload, it can also imply a lack of organization," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. "The good news is that workers can fix this problem quickly and reverse any negative perceptions of their performance."Haefner offered several solutions to paper-piling problems, including…

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3 Aug 2011

With the start of the school season weeks away, some Toronto teachers may be walking into their classroom sporting a tan or driving there with a new set of wheels.Office product retailer Staples Canada recently announced its annual Teacher Appreciation Event, wherein educators can get as much as 25 percent off on their in-store purchases. But they may also win something while they're shopping for pens, pads and pencils, as the company will award a select number of instructors with a Caribbean vacation for four or a 2012 Toyota Prius."We hope teachers are as excited as we are at Staples Canada about the upcoming Teacher Appreciation campaign," said Rick Atkinson, vice president of marketing for Staples Canada. "This initiative is…

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3 Aug 2011

With the start of the school season weeks away, some Toronto teachers may be walking into their classroom sporting a tan or driving there with a new set of wheels.Office product retailer Staples Canada recently announced its annual Teacher Appreciation Event, wherein educators can get as much as 25 percent off on their in-store purchases. But they may also win something while they're shopping for pens, pads and pencils, as the company will award a select number of instructors with a Caribbean vacation for four or a 2012 Toyota Prius."We hope teachers are as excited as we are at Staples Canada about the upcoming Teacher Appreciation campaign," said Rick Atkinson, vice president of marketing for Staples Canada. "This initiative is…

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2 Aug 2011

After months of anticipation, Toronto's most extreme attraction for tourists and locals alike opened to the public August 1. It's called the EdgeWalk, and it's situated atop the iconic CN Tower. For a fee, thrill seekers can walk on the boundary of the towering precipice, which stands 116 storeys, or 1168 feet."We're extremely excited this day is finally here," said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Canada Lands Company, which owns the CN Tower. "The public has shown that they are ready and eager to push their limits by taking part in Toronto's most exciting attraction in decades."Those participating in the EdgeWalk will be taken to the top of the tower in groups of six, where they can then take…

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2 Aug 2011

As back-to-school shopping season gets underway, a new poll is indicating Canadian parents have higher stress levels during this time period.According to MasterCard Canada's survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents find facing the crowds of people shopping for their kids to be anxiety-inducing.But Cathie Mostowyk, founder of the Shoestring Shopping Guide, said this shouldn't be the case."Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to be so stressful," said Mostowyk. "Simple things like making a list in advance, shopping for some of the basics on your own without the kids and choosing the right time of day to venture out can help you pass the back-to-school shopping stress test with flying colors."Mostowyk offers additional shopping tips. For instance, she says parents should budget their money…

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1 Aug 2011

Frank Sinatra once crooned that he wanted to wake up New York, New York, as it was a city that never slept. But were Ol' Blue Eyes alive today, he may be crooning about Cairo, Egypt. According to a new study conducted by Badoo, a leading social network website, Cairo is the world's "most 24-hour" city. The study based its assessment on the online activity of each country's users, which totaled 122 million and spanned 180 countries. Other "sleepless" cities included Montevideo, Uruguay; Beirut, Lebanon; Malaga, Spain and Zaragoza, also in Spain. In fact, of the leading "24-hour" cities, six of the top 10 were located in that country. How did Toronto fare? The website says it shared 18th place…

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29 Jul 2011

While certain customs and traditions between American and Canadian kids differ, both seem to have one particular trait in common: hating to clean.To help parents get their kids to do their chores, cleaning product manufacturer Jelmar recently interviewed child psychologist Michele Borba who offered some tips.For instance, one suggestion Borba recommends is turning cleaning into a competition."Assign a room, hand out cleaning supplies, set a buzzer for five minutes and then dash to your designated area to clean things 'spick and span' before the time goes," said Borba. "Kids love to try and 'beat the clock' and you'll have the house back in order in minutes."Borba also says children should be taught at a young age that cleaning up after…

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29 Jul 2011

A new survey is revealing an increasing number of Canadians are taking advantage of the most up-to-date technology when it comes to internet accessibility.According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, in 2010, the number of Canadian households with broadband web access increased nearly 10 percent to 9 million, while homeowners fitted with wireless services rose 8.5 percent to 25 million.Konrad von Finckenstein, chairman of the CRTC, said the findings bode well for the future."It is encouraging to see Canadians taking up broadband internet and wireless services in such large numbers," said von Finckenstein. "This not only signals a strong participation in the digital economy, but is also a clear indication that Canadians are increasingly using a variety of platforms…

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28 Jul 2011

A new study finds that a significant percentage of Canadians would prefer if more retail stores in the province were allowed to sell beer and wine.The poll, commissioned by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association, found that approximately six out of every 10 Ontarians over the age of 19 believe smaller retailers and shops should be allowed to sell alcohol. However, this rate was even higher among certain segments of the province, as 71 percent living in the East said availability should be increased, with just 27 percent opposing the idea.Dave Bryans, president of the OCSA, said this becoming a reality may be decided at the ballet box."Ontario voters are simply asking for more convenience – like being able to pick-up…

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