• The Final Frontier in Navigation Apps: Finding Parking

    Smartphone navigation? Solved. Modern apps will even route you around traffic, automatically picking the most efficient way to get where you’re going.

     

    That’s the VoicePark sensor embedded in a sample slab of street pavement. (Photo: Rafe Needleman/Yahoo)

    What we don’t have yet is an app that will reliably tell us where to park once we get where we’re going. One startup in the “Internet of Things for Cities” exhibits (co-located with the Wearable World Congress show in San Francisco this week) is trying to solve this issue: VoicePark.

    VoicePark wants to install parking-space sensors in every potential on-street spot in a city. The combined visible-light and infrared sensors are, I was told, extremely accurate at determining if a car is overhead. They’re supposed to be far more reliable than magnetic sensors. They communicate wirelessly, presumably over a lower-power mesh network, and run on batteries that are supposed to last four years or more.

    Combine a city full of VoicePark

    Read More »from The Final Frontier in Navigation Apps: Finding Parking
  • Shoppers who pass a beacon will be notified about a deal, which they show to the cashier. (Andrew Seale)Shoppers who pass a beacon will be notified about a deal, which they show to the cashier. (Andrew Seale)

    Michael Cohen knows it’s here somewhere.

    The director of development for Air Miles and I are pacing the aisles of a Rexall pharmacy at the corner of Toronto’s Queen St. and University Ave., peering behind stacks of toilet paper and pushing aside bags of chips like two kids looking for treasure.

    “It should be about waist high because most people keep their smartphones in their purses or pant pockets,” he says.

    I’m looking for a bug – the spy kind. I picture a miniature radio the size of a button with a spindle of wires. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for but the button-sized radio is my best guess for what a beacon looks like.

    Here’s what I do know: I know a beacon is a low energy Bluetooth device, capable of pinging information to any smartphone with the app associated with that beacon and I know that the Rexall we’re in is part of an Air Miles pilot phase (which also includes Staples). They’re testing the use of the technology as a way to send its members

    Read More »from I spy: Beacons being used by stores to deliver deals in exchange for tracking you
  • New website 'reads' your CV, tells you how much you should be paid

    Instant online tool analyses text in your CV to rate your experience

    A new online tool ‘reads’ your CV and offers an instant assessment of how much you are worth.

    If you are feeling cheeky - and extremely daring - the ValueMyCV tool also lets you email the site’s assessment direct from the page.

    ValueMyCV, offered by job search engine Adzuna, uses text mining to read qualifications from CVs, and to assess work experience in terms of years worked and years in management.

    Users simply upload a CV in PDF format (you can also convert your LinkedIn profile) and the process takes less than half a minute.

    ValueMy CV offers an instant estimate of the ‘value’ of your CV - using keywords, such as ‘Networking’ or ‘Technology’ to assess the industry you work in, and words such as ‘Director’ or ‘Manager’ to assess your rank.

    ValueMyCVValueMyCV


    The site also offers tips on how to improve CVs to ensure they highlight the ‘right’ skills to land you a pay rise.

    Read More »from New website 'reads' your CV, tells you how much you should be paid
  • Woman Allegedly Fired for Deleting App That Let Her Boss Track Her Movements 24/7

    A California woman is suing her former employer after she claims she was fired for uninstalling a smartphone app that let her boss track her movements 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

    According to Ars Technica, which obtained a copy of the complaint, Myrna Arias worked for the Intermex wire transfer service when she says her boss, John Stubits, fired her for deleting the Xora (now ClickSoftware) job management app from her smartphone.

    In the suit Arias claims that the app allowed Intermex and Stubits to track her movement whether she was working or not.

    Arias said that when she and her fellow employees asked Stubits if he could track them when they weren’t working, Stubits, “admitted that employees would be monitored while off duty and bragged that he knew how fast she was driving at specific moments ever since she had installed the app on her phone.”

    According to the suit, Arias didn’t have a problem with the app tracking her while she was working, but didn’t want it doing so when

    Read More »from Woman Allegedly Fired for Deleting App That Let Her Boss Track Her Movements 24/7
  • CEO cashes out to become a farmer

    In 2011, Bill Bumbernick had a decision to make. He’d just sold his Philadelphia-based technology company for $17.3 million. He could stay in the industry, continue making six figures, working long hours and rarely being home – or – he could leave it all behind. He chose the latter.

    Shortly after the sale of his company, Alteva, Bumbernick and his wife Megan had a long conversation. They’d come to a conclusion – sort of. “We didn’t know what the future was going to be,” he says, “but we knew what it wasn’t going to be and it wasn’t going to be the corporate life.”

    At first it was exciting for him to be home. He was able to spend more time with Megan and his three children – but it wasn’t always easy going. He says they had to “re-learn how to operate with one another again” and readily admits that a lot of his self-worth had come from his life as a CEO. “Trying to figure out who I am now wasn’t easy,” he says.

    With newfound resources his family lived a lavish lifestyle. He bought a

    Read More »from CEO cashes out to become a farmer
  • Local Otter Destroys OtterBox Phone Case

    "You, you, you otter know” —Alanis Morissette. (Photo: CNET).

    One bold otter has ripped the lid off of what could very well be the biggest tech scandal of our time.

    Per a report from a local Fargo, N.D., TV station, someone was snapping photos of the Red River Zoo’s adorable North American river otters, when the person accidentally dropped their phone into the exhibit. One bold otter examined the specimen and found it to be in an OtterBox phone case. The otter was not impressed by its namesake product and proceeded to rip it, and the phone, to pieces.

    The act may have been retribution for the many years of tension between the otter population and the best-selling phone case company. The OtterBox website has long exploited the otter name to sell its products. One promotional line reads: “Similar to the otter’s fur, our original line of cases is waterproof.”

    OtterBox did not respond to requests for comment on whether it has tested its cases against actual otters.

    Read More »from Local Otter Destroys OtterBox Phone Case
  • There are too many constraints on women in the global economy, from unequal pay to limited leadership roles, which is weighing on economic progress, a prominent economist warns.

    Nouriel Roubini, the economist credited with predicting the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the financial crisis that followed, says gender inequality is an ongoing threat to global productivity, with potential long-term economic impacts. 

    During a speech in Vancouver on Thursday, Roubini highlighted statistics showing that a higher participation rate of females in the workforce, equal pay, and having more women on boards and in executive roles, helps to increase business productivity, and profits. 

    Still, women around the world continue to struggle with gender equality at work.

    “The case for having a stronger role of women in the business world is compelling,” Roubini said during a speech at The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future conference.

    “Lots of work has been done, but more needs to

    Read More »from Dr. Doom Nouriel Roubini warns on economic effects of gender inequality
  • Ontario’s housing market is overvalued by about 25 per cent, a dangerous level that threatens not only home price growth in the province, but the overall Canadian economy, says a new report from New York-based Fitch ratings agency.

    Overbuilding is being blamed, notably condo growth in the Greater Toronto Area, where construction is at a record high.

    “Beneath the unprecedented boom in the Ontario housing market is a large overhang of pending supply that could threaten continued home price growth in the province,” states the report by Fitch Ratings director Stefan Hilts. 

    It says more than 80,000 condo units are being built in Ontario, which is almost 50 per cent more than four years ago when the boom in multifamily units really started to take off.

    That supply spike, combined with flattening condos prices and a construction overhang at time when housing starts in the province have fallen “could present a problem for continued price growth, with the market potentially becoming

    Read More »from Fitch warns on Canada’s condo market
  • The Canadian retail market has not exactly been a good news story this year (bye-bye Target), but nobody seems to have told the stores that play in the luxury end of it.

    Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th (the brand’s discount arm) has announced it will open its first three non-U.S. outlets in Ottawa, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Vaughn next year, part of a larger roll-out that will also see seven Canadian stores in the Saks flagship brand open their doors.

    While technically not a foreign player after Hudson’s Bay bought the chain last year, the Saks brand’s arrival is part of a high-end foreign invasion on the traditional stomping ground of Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen.

    Of course, it’s not all giggles in the Canadian retail space, as Target dashes out of town with its tail between its legs, Sears Canada limps along, and smaller players like Bowring operate under bankruptcy protection.

    But go up a few price points, and the air seems to be clearer, with both large and small players getting into the

    Read More »from Fifth Avenue retailing coming to a Canadian street near you
  • Canadian retailers have a lot of catching up to do if they want to better compete with their American counterparts in the increasingly important ecommerce sales category, suggests a new report from BMO Nesbitt Burns.

    It shows the overwhelming majority of the estimated $16 billion in total ecommerce sales generated in Canada last year was by American companies.

    The top three ecommerce retailers – Amazon, eBay and Apple – accounted for nearly a third of online shopping sales in 2014. The top 10, which again are all American companies, accounted for just above 50 per cent of ecommerce sales.

    Of the top 20 ecommerce sites ringing up sales in Canada last year, only one is based in Canada – an electronics site called Canada Computers – which is in 19th spot, according to the report.

    The report says ecommerce accounted for just 3 per cent of retail sales in Canada in 2014, or $16 billion out of $500 billion. In the U.S., ecommerce transactions account for about 7 per cent retail sales and

    Read More »from Canadian retailers falling behind U.S. in ecommerce: BMO
  • About two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of increasing the contribution limit for the Tax Free Saving Account (TFSA), but even more want a boost in benefits received through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a new Nanos poll shows.

    The results suggest support for some Conservative government initiatives in the lead up to the federal election this fall, but also give room for opposition parties calling for changes to the pension system, notes Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research.

    The survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail, was released on the same day Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he plans to reverse the Conservative government’s recently announced TFSA increase, if elected. Trudeau said he would use the extra money to cut taxes for the middle class and boost child benefits.

    The Nanos report shows 64 per cent of Canadians surveyed were in favour of hiking the contribution limit for TFSAs. That’s even though only 55 per cent were likely to take advantage of it.

    In its budget

    Read More »from Canadian retirement a political issue as poll shows support for TFSA, CPP increases
  • Canadians have long prospered on the backs of those who dug for buried treasure in this country. But with southern metal deposits increasingly hard to find, the treasure is up north these days, and increasingly difficult and pricey to get to.

    According to a new industry study, the cost to explore and build new mines is as much as 2.5 times higher in Canada’s far North than in the south, due to a lack of access, power lines, and just about everything you need to extract and ship tonnes of ore.

    “There are no roads, so you have to build roads,” says Pierre Gratton, CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, which produced the study along with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies, the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, and the Yukon Chamber of Mines.

    “Depending on the nature of your commodity, you may need shipping. So base metals and precious metals, you often need some kind of port infrastructure. So you have to put that in.

    Read More »from Canada’s ‘rocks and trees’ economy faces high northern price tag: study
  • Apple’s ResearchKit Takes Medical Research Years Into the Future

    Apple just released what history might say is its most important product ever.

    And guess what? Hardly anyone even knows it exists.

    It’s called ResearchKit. It’s a software toolkit that lets researchers write iPhone apps for medical studies.

    Yawn, right?

    No. This is a huge deal.

    Every year, people buy 1 billion smartphones and 70 million wearable health trackers. These devices monitor how much we move and sleep, and where we are in the world. Some of them track our pulse, stress, posture, sunlight exposure, perspiration, and so on.

    Yet how much of this data is available to scientists? None of it. These phones and trackers spew out terabytes of useful data a day — and scientists can’t get at it, analyze it, or parse it to draw conclusions about medicine and health. We’re conducting the biggest clinical trial in human history, and we are throwing away the results.

    How studies are conducted now

    What is science, anyway? It’s “the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the

    Read More »from Apple’s ResearchKit Takes Medical Research Years Into the Future

  • Things are looking brighter for the loonie – but not bright enough to make cross border jaunts as worthwhile as last summer.

    “Where we are now at 80 U.S. cents, the price differential between the U.S. and Canada isn’t as attractive as it was when we were at parity or 95 U.S. cents,” Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, told Yahoo Canada Finance. “That 20 per cent premium you’re paying now is probably going to be difficult to swallow for some people.”

    Even still, the lifting loonie is welcomed after spending most of February, March and the first two weeks of April in the 79-to 80-U.S.-cent gutter against the greenback. In the back half of April, the Canadian dollar started to gain momentum, closing out the month around $0.83.

    The loonie’s climb shows it’s still in a square dance with the price of oil, matching step for step.

    “We’ve seen oil prices rebound nicely from their lows over the past couple of months,” says Reitzes. “You can chart oil on top of the Canadian

    Read More »from Loonie’s latest rise will be shortlived: analysts
  • Procrastinating Canadians breathed a sigh of relief when the Canada Revenue Agency announced that the tax-filing deadline this year has been pushed back to May 5. That means that those who owe money have a little more time to earn interest on their dollars.

    It’s not the first time the CRA has flubbed up.

    This year’s blunder arose because of human error. Someone at the CRA inadvertently sent out an email indicating the deadline was May 5. In fact, that was last year’s deadline, which was extended after the Heartbleed bug forced a five-day shutdown of its electronic services.

    “Talk about proof of the need to proofread your emails before sending them out,” says H&R Block senior tax analyst Caroline Battista of this year’s mistake. “It’s an extension for the second year in a row, but I would not encourage people to get used to the idea, nor would I encourage people who were procrastinating till April 30 to wait until the 4th of May to get their paper work in order. Use this time instead of

    Read More »from Canada Revenue Agency’s blunder this year not its first
  • Union membership a ticket to the upper middle class, says CCPA study

    Canadian organized labour got another slap in the face this week when General Motors said it will cut production at its huge plant in Oshawa. That means pink slips for workers and, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a further hollowing out of the middle class.

    The CCPA study concludes that a reduction of unionized jobs over the past few decades is closely tied to declining private-sector incomes and less upward mobility, or the ability to improve your lot in life.

    “We can expect the middle class to shrink and upward mobility to stall, as long as union representation continues to decline,” says economist and study co-author Hugh Mackenzie.

    The study, released to coincide with International Workers Day, looks at income and union participation going back 30 years, focusing on where union workers stand on the income spectrum, and how steadily they move higher.

    The report shows that the majority of unionized workers in the country occupy the higher

    Read More »from Union membership a ticket to the upper middle class, says CCPA study
  • Women are more likely than men to ask for directions, studies have shown, which means less wasted time and fuel driving around in circles convinced they’re on the right track. 

    The same logic appears to apply to men and women in the boardroom around deciding the right move to make with mergers and acquisitions.

    A joint study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Utah shows corporate boards that include women are more likely to seek help from investment bankers and/or financial advisers when faced with a takeover offer. The result is less risk of backlash and even litigation from unhappy shareholders.

    “Women do make a difference in business,” states the report, co-authored by Maurice Levi and Kai Li, finance professors at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and Feng Zhang, assistant professor at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah (and former UBC student).

    In an interview, Li said the study was done amid growing calls around the world for

    Read More »from Deal on the table? Better have a female executive on your team
  • The results are in: if you work as a floor assembler, you have the lousiest entry-level job out there.

    That’s according to WalletHub’s 2015 Entry-Level Jobs Report, which looks at the first-timer employment landscape by comparing 109 different types of entry-level positions based on 11 key metrics, such as starting salary, industry growth rate, and injury rate.

    For high-school students getting ready to graduate, here are the top 10 jobs that will make you wish you stayed in school.

    Floor assembler: The median annual salary is $35,467, according to Salary.com. The job involves simple, routine, and repetitive tasks involving physical labour and the use of hand and power tools, all while working under close supervision. Ominous note: “Primary job functions do not typically require exercising independent judgment,” Salary.com says in its job description.

    Sheetmetal mechanic: Plan on spending your days setting up and operating machines such as drill presses, punch presses, shears, bending

    Read More »from The worst entry-level jobs in 2015
  • Two Canadian cities are at “high risk” of a housing correction, but it’s not the ones you might think.

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says Regina and Winnipeg face “problematic market conditions,” due to quickly rising prices, overvaluation and overbuilding, especially in the condo markets.

    “In Winnipeg, risk of overvaluation and overbuilding are detected,” said the CMHC in its latest House Price Analysis and Assessment (HPAA), which takes the temperature of Canada’s housing market. The HPAA looks at economic, financial and demographic drivers of housing markets across the country.

    As for Regina, “the inventory of completed and unsold units is at a record high,” CMHC says, despite fewer starts in 2014. It notes builders have been scaling back production this year. 

    Toronto and Vancouver – two cities often cites as being the most overheated due to rising prices and seemingly unstoppable building trends – don’t appear to be raising alarm bells at the CMHC.

    “Low overall

    Read More »from Winnipeg, Regina housing markets at 'high risk' for correction: CMHC
  • It’s no secret Canadians are an indebted bunch – recently hitting cantankerous record debt levels of $1.63 of credit market debt for every dollar of disposable income – but a new paper by Statistics Canada finds that the value of assets we’re spending on is also climbing.

    While the median debt rose by 64 per cent between 1999 and 2012, median assets actually saw a bigger boost, rising by 80 per cent. According to the paper, over those 13 years the median debt held by families grew by $23,400 (in 2012 constant dollars) to $60,100. Median assets of those families – which includes things like employer pension and real estate –rose by $179,800 to $405,200.

    “I think what it says to me, is the very large increase in house prices over the last number of years is what’s driving this, it’s pretty much the whole story,” says Matthew Stewart and economist and associate director of national forecast at the Conference Board of Canada.

    He points to the discrepancies between age groups.

    “All the

    Read More »from Canadians owe more, but they have more too: StatsCan
  • A weaker dollar and cheaper gas is help keeping Canadians at home. The result – less cross border trips and more shopping and spending at restaurants closer to home.

    Spending across the country rose by 5.78 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, versus the same time last year, according to the MonerisMetrics quarterly report by debit and credit payment processor Moneris.

    At the top of that list, was spending at restaurants, which saw a 10.9 per cent growth in the fast food category and 7.84 per cent leap in the bars and clubs realm.

    “I think some of that is extra money in our pockets from lower gasoline prices so people are just going out a bit more, eating out,” says Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO.

    Retail also saw a spike according to Moneris’ data. The clear winners were the shoe stores and women’s accessories, which saw increases of 9.32 per cent and 7.27 per cent. Men’s clothing on the other hand saw a modest 3.45 per cent increase while family clothing saw a 4.25 per cent

    Read More »from Weaker dollar, cheaper gas boost Canadian spending in Q1
  • Generation X and Y are advised not to bank on the wealth built up by their Baby Boomer parents to get by later in life. A new survey shows the money may not come.

    HSBC’s latest global retirement survey says Canadians are among the most likely to spend their money before they die, and are the least likely to financially support their adult children.

    It shows 27 per cent of Canadian respondents think it’s better to blow all of their money while they’re still alive, and let their children fend for themselves. That’s compared to a global average of 21 per cent, among the 15 countries surveyed, who felt it was better to spend their money and let the next generation create its own wealth.

    Only 7 per cent of Canadians felt it was best to save as much as possible to pass along to their kids. The other two-thirds plan to save some for the next generation, but also spend more on themselves too.

    The survey also shows just 11 per cent of Canadians close to retirement plan to support their adult

    Read More »from Canadians more likely to burn through retirement savings: HSBC
  • While Nepal reels from the 7.8-maginitude earthquake that crippled the mountainous nation this weekend, killing more than 3,700, relief organizations are mobilizing to offer their support to the region. But amidst the rubble and humanitarian rush, concerned Canadians should be weary of misinformation and sham charities looking to take advantage of your goodwill.

    “The reality is, that period of immediate disaster relief usually is only the first few days, and I don’t think that money given now is actually going to go for that,” says Mark Blumberg, a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP focused on non-profit and charity law who also maintains www.SmartGiving.ca.

    Last year, Canadians gave $70 million to scammers with emotional scams ranking second on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s list.

    “Where there’s a major disaster and a lot of media attention, you end up (with people) setting up a website or Facebook pages to help collect funds,” says Blumberg. “In some cases it’s not that they’re being

    Read More »from How to avoid Nepal earthquake relief scams
  • Apple is no bellwether for the market

    It’s the biggest stock in the world, but don’t call it a bellwether. Apple (AAPL) is worth more than any company in history, at more than $750 billion. It is followed by more analysts and showered with more hype than all the Republican presidential contenders combined.

    Yet when Apple reports its hotly anticipated results for its fiscal second quarter, the numbers will tell us almost nothing about the state of the economy, and its stock reaction will deliver no clues about the broad market’s prospects. That’s because the Apple economy is a singular thing, operating within the global market for goods and services but only marginally dependent on them.

    And Apple shares have shown a stark tendency to remain out of step with the stock market as a whole. Which means that when the company reports what are almost certain to be powerfully strong profits after the close today, it won’t tell us much at all about the condition of the tech industry or the rest of the business world.

    Consider what

    Read More »from Apple is no bellwether for the market
  • With the annual income tax deadline just a few days away, Canadians can be forgiven for being a bit more irritable.

    Whether you do your own taxes, or hand over a shoebox filled with receipts to an accountant, many would argue the tax system is becoming increasingly complicated.

    A new report shows the system isn’t just more complex, but says it’s also costing filers more money.  

    “Canadian families and businesses incur significant costs complying with the tax system,” states the Fraser Institute report called Measuring Tax Complexity in Canada.

    “Those costs include direct spending on items such as accountants, lawyers, and computer software, as well as the financial cost of the time it takes to compile the materials and complete the forms. Governments also incur costs to administer and collect taxes.”

    The think tank is calling on the federal government to start simplifying the tax system to save filers both time and money. It may even have the added benefit of helping to reduce some

    Read More »from Canada’s complicated income tax system costing Canadians: report
  • Meds by mail (Thinkstock/Ackab)Meds by mail (Thinkstock/Ackab)

    A mother in Britain is mourning the loss of her 21-year-old daughter after the woman consumed diet pills she’d purchased online.

    Eloise Aimee Parry accidentally overdosed on pills that contained the toxic ingredient dinitrophenol (DNP). A lethal dose is two tablets; Parry had taken eight.

    The tragedy prompted police to remind people about the dangers of buying slimming pills or other medicines or supplements over the Internet.  “Substances from unregistered websites could put your health at risk, as they could be extremely harmful, out of date, or fake,” Chief Inspector Jennifer Mattinson told the Guardian.  

    Diet pills are just one item to avoid buying online. Here are a few other products that you’re better off buying at a bricks-and-mortar store after consulting a qualified health professional.

    Prescription drugs without a prescription

    There are legitimate pharmacies out there, but also many that are not. Referred to as rogue websites, they may sell controlled substances such as

    Read More »from Buyer beware: The most dangerous products to order online
  • The flag of Canada at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.The flag of Canada at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

    When Mehmet Gulec looks back on the days and weeks following his family’s arrival in Canada from Turkey in December 2013, he says he’s still amazed by everything the foursome overcame in fleeing their homeland. It wasn’t just the severe ice storm that hit Burlington, Ontario, three days after they landed there that they found challenging. So too was getting settled in their new country with extremely limited means.

    “We came – four people – with $1,000 Canadian cash,” Gulec says of his wife and two sons. “We survived, and when I turn back even myself I cannot understand how we did it. It was because we were not alone: Canadians are unbelievable people.”

    Gulec, who worked for 20 years as a production manager in the automotive industry in Turkey, says several organizations helped the family get established, including the Centre for Skills Development & Training, which offers a program called Enhanced Language Training to help immigrants who are beginning their careers in Canada. Gulec is

    Read More »from New immigrants to Canada face unexpected costs
  • Social media is a great place to post pictures of your food or prove that you’re the only one with an opinion on Jay-Z’s failing Tidal music streaming service.

    It is not, however, a good place to boast about your recent flirtation with tax evasion.

    “You’re seeing some stock brokers bragging on social media about how successful they’ve been taking the $10,000 or whatever they’ve put into TFSAs and turning it into $100,000 based on speculative stock trades and I think to myself – you idiots!” says James Rhodes, a Waterloo-based tax lawyer. “If I was an auditor I’d be printing their comments out and using it to create an audit link and send an auditor on them.”

    The catch is – the Canada Revenue Agency can do just that. After all, anything in the public record is fair play, CRA spokesperson Jelica Zdero told Yahoo Canada in an email response.

    “The Canada Revenue Agency does not disclose the specific tools and methods used during an audit or criminal investigation,” she writes. “However,

    Read More »from Can the CRA use your social media accounts against you?
  • Commuters are getting a long-term promise of better transit and roadways through increased infrastructure spending and some special interest groups will see their funding continue, but there were no major incentives in the Ontario budget for everyday citizens living in Canada’s largest province.

    There is another way to look at it though: There were no personal tax increases (unless you count the new beer charge), which means the broader public was spared what could’ve been a more painful path to balance the books.

    Economists say it wouldn’t have been prudent for the Ontario government to provide broader perks to people in the province, given its balancing act between reducing the deficit and trying to capitalize on economic growth.

    “With a return to balance the priority, there was limited fiscal room for new initiatives in this budget,” said TD economists Leslie Preston and Jonathan Bendiner in a note after the budget was tabled on Thursday. TD described the budget as a “progress

    Read More »from Mixed bag for consumers in Ontario budget
  • Canada’s banks have been ranked the strongest in the world for seven straight years and recently reported first quarter profits that topped $8 billion for the group. And to be clear, that’s $8 billion for five banks over three months.

    So, time for a hiring spree, right? Not quite. To look at the recent headlines, you’d think it’s tough times for the big lenders.

    According to reports this week, Bank of Montreal has cut some 50 jobs on its capital markets side, and Toronto-Dominion is paring jobs from several departments. This follows Scotiabank’s announcement in the fall that it will cut 1,500 jobs, most of them in Canada.

    Of course, the big banks each employ tens of thousands, so these aren’t exactly mass layoffs. But the banks are clearly in a cost-cutting mindset, and their quarterly reports show headcounts lower this year than last.

    “2015 is going to be a bad year for Canadian banks,” says Ian Lee, a former banker and current business professor at Carleton University.

    Now, it should

    Read More »from Jobs cut as tough times loom for Canada’s billionaire banks

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