Insight
  • In an effort to highlight the most expensive seats you can sit in to fly, U.S.-based Seats and Stools, a (you guessed it) retailer of seats and stools, took a cheeky approach to illustrate just how incredibly expensive it can be to get up in the air.

    Well… kind of.

    Popping on Google Flights and scanning hundreds of airlines serving thousand of cities, the website tracked down some of the priciest flights seven-weeks-out from the time of booking. And as the voice coming from that clickbait megaphone in the clouds will tell you: their findings will make your jaw drop, you won’t believe it, it’s so shocking.

    Setting aside the astronomically expensive (pun intended) US$35 million flight Cirque de Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté took to the International Space Station and the US$250,000 price tag for a flight on Virgin Galaxy’s space-kissing flight, the priciest flight they found was a round trip from Abu Dhabi to New York City in “The Residence” aboard luxury Gulf carrier Etihad Airways.

    Read More »from If you think $1,545 is expensive for a domestic flight, you’re obviously not Canadian
  • If you’re been clinging onto an old, beat up iPhone, you’re not alone.

    A new study from by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners has found that U.S. consumers are increasingly holding onto to their aging devices.

    The market researchers’ findings indicate that in the March 2016 quarter, 51 per cent of old iPhones were either less than one year old or between one and two years old.

    That’s a significant drop from the June 2013 quarter, when 66 per cent of old iPhones fell into the same category. 

    During the most recent stretch of time, consumers with iPhones more than three years old also jumped from five per cent to 12 per cent.

    “Over the past eleven quarters, in some quarters the average age of a previous iPhone increased by as much as four weeks. It did decline in a few quarters, from mid-2014 to mid-2015, and again in the most recent March 2016 quarter,” Mike Levin, partner and cofounder of CIRP, said in a press release. 

    “Overall, over the past almost three years, the average age

    Read More »from People are holding onto their old iPhones for longer
  • Despite still wrestling with the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007, Wall Street is throwing its weight behind another subprime lease market, this time in the form of a $1 billion dollar investment in Uber’s short-term leasing subsidiary.

    Run by former Goldman Sachs commodity trader Andrew Chapin, Xchange Leasing – which partners with auto dealerships, advertises to drivers and manages risk, including sourcing repo men – offers a line of credit for people who have struggled to secure loans from other lenders.

    Lease terms for Uber’s Xchange program include a US$250 deposit upfront and weekly payments of between US$106 and US$139 over the three-year life of the lease, depending on the car. If the drivers want to buy it at the end of the lease, they’ll need to pay the residual value.

    But the program is likely less about moneymaking and more about getting more Uber drivers on the roads says Hamid Akbari, founder of BlankLink – which has developed several ride-sharing apps –

    Read More »from Uber enters the subprime leasing business to get new drivers in cars
  • Walmart Canada’s decision to ditch change rooms has less to do with the future of retail and more to do with a nagging legacy of theft, which costs the brand $3 billion a year.  

    The recent announcement by Walmart that it will be cutting change rooms out of the mix at three of its stores – locations in Truro, N.S., Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Montreal, Que. – has been positioned by the brand as a way to “make more space for apparel.”

    “We are always looking for ways to improve the selection of products we offer our customers,” Anika Malik, Walmart’s Canadian manager of corporate affairs told The Chronicle Herald in Halifax. “As such … we are trialing the elimination of change rooms in some of our locations in Quebec and the Maritimes in an effort to increase floor space, including our location in Truro.”

    But retail consultant and analyst Ed Strapagiel says the decision probably has less to do with innovation than the brand lets on.

    “I suspect that talk of making the stores friendlier with

    Read More »from Why clothing stores are getting rid of change rooms
  • Canada has gained a global reputation as a promoter and defender of LGBTQ rights, but existing data and research shows gay and trans people face continued barriers to equal employment and pay in the workplace.

    According to an analysis of data from the 2011 National Household Survey (the government survey that temporarily replaced the long-form census five years ago), gay men on average earn 5.5 per cent less than straight men, while lesbians earn about 6 per cent more than straight women. That second figure might be a surprise, as it might seem to fly in the face of the notion of an LGBTQ wage penalty.

    But the data doesn’t tell the whole story, and in fact is rather limited, admit Sean Waite and Nicole Denier, two McGill University PhD candidates who conducted the analysis.

    The government only began recording data on sexual orientation in 2006 after same-sex marriage was legalized, and just does so in the context of married and common-law couples. That means the data is omitting a huge

    Read More »from Wage gap exists for LGBTQ Canadians, and current research doesn’t tell the full story
  • Choose where you want to call home. With $1 million, you can invest in your perfect property, in whichever Canadian province your heart desires. What that home looks like, however, will vary greatly depending on where you look. Here’s what’s on the market for $1 million this week.

    [Realtor.ca]

    Vancouver, British Columbia

    There’s plenty to fall in love with at New Westminster’s 927 Surrey Street. This is a three-storey home, encompassing nearly 2,500 square feet, with magnificent views of the mountains.

    927 Surrey Street, located in the Heights neighbourhood, includes six bedrooms, a den and two baths. Its features include two gas fireplaces, skylights, new windows, a recently redone roof and a new furnace. In additional, this British Columbia property is perfectly situated across from a park, a shopping centre and public transit.

    [Realtor.ca]

    Calgary, Alberta

    Have you ever dreamed of living on a golf course? 1507 Varsity Estates Drive Northwest is located just off the eighth tee box at Silver

    Read More »from What a $1 million dollar home looks like in Canada this week
  • Well, we made it – Tax Freedom Day, the day Canadians stop working for ‘The Man’ and start working for themselves.

    Or at least it is according to public policy think-tank The Fraser Institute’s latest study Canadians Celebrate Tax Freedom Day, which pegs June 7 as the day the average Canadian family would shell out their hard-earned income until, supposing they were to pay the government all their taxes up front.

    Based on the think-tank’s calculations, the average Canadian family will pay $45,167 in total taxes or about 42.9 per cent of its annual income of $105,236 to the government’s gamut of taxes including income, payroll, healthcare, sales, property, fuel, and “sin” taxes (things like alcohol and tobacco).

    It’s two days earlier than last year’s Tax Freedom Day, though the study is quick to point out that a lot of that has to do with the fact it’s a leap year and “because Tax Freedom Day is calculated based on federal and provincial tax revenue forecasts, overly-conservative

    Read More »from Canadians celebrate Tax Freedom Day a month and a half later than the U.S.
  • Does your mood swing up and down with the TSX? Does the price of oil keep you up at night? If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the business news scene in Canada, then this quiz on the week’s top business stories should be a breeze. Find out how savvy you are about Canadian and international financial news.

  • Attention electric lettuce tokers: there’s no need to trip out over whether or not your marijuana habits classify you as a “smoker,” as two of Canada’s largest insurance providers say they won’t hold it against you.

    In a first for the country, BMO and Sun Life announced this week that they’ll no longer be calling on marijuana smokers to tick the “smokers” box on the life insurance questionnaire, reversing the long-standing policy that using the plant was on par with tobacco. It’s a coup for medical marijuana users given that smokers can pay anywhere from 30 to 50 per cent more in premiums.

    “In our industry, we keep up to date with medical studies and companies update their underwriting guidelines accordingly,” Sun Life said in a statement to brokers highlighting the policy change. “As a result, people who use marijuana are now assessed … at non-smoker rates, unless they also use tobacco.”

    While it’s easy to also draw lines between the announcement and the Federal government’s plans to

    Read More »from Insurers to no longer count marijuana users as smokers
  • An Australian cleaner who was fired for drinking coffee at work has been given the right to return to his old job and has been awarded thousands of dollars in damages.

    The country’s Fair Work Commission decided the dismissal of the cleaner from a Sydney office two days after the January 12 incident, which occurred shortly before one of his evening shifts began, was unfair, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

    The national workplace relations tribunal’s vice president, Adam Hatcher, reportedly quoted Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton in defending the decision to give the cleaner $9,187.20 in damages and the right to get his old job back at Glad Group Pty Ltd, a commercial and industrial cleaning company.

    "Office civilization could not be feasible without the hard take-offs and landings effected by coffee and alcohol,” said Hatcher, concluding that the dismissal was “unjust and unreasonable.”

    The issue brewed after Glad described the cleaner’s coffee drinking as a “theft,” calling it

    Read More »from Australian cleaner who was fired for having a cup of coffee gets job back
  • The hits keep coming for Canadian-born Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who threw himself into the debate surrounding Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union earlier last month by warning that Brexit could possibly lead to a “technical recession.”

    Now, after stark criticism from Vote Leave supporters, including Jacob Rees-Mogg – a Tory MP and Treasury Select Committee member – calling on Carney to resign for entering a political discussion, the central bank head has shot back saying the BoE has a “responsibility to discharge our remit and we have a wider responsibility to the British people, who don’t want risks kept from them.”

    Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada, went on to point out that the BoE’s remit was to deliver “low, stable, predictable inflation.”

    “It may be inconvenient for you,” he told Rees-Mogg. “But we have made it more likely that we will bring inflation back to target, whatever the outcome of the referendum, sooner and more sustainably, and

    Read More »from Canadian-born Bank of England head wades into the Brexit fray
  • Canadians traveling within the United States this summer can expect long line-ups and wait times beyond 90 minutes when passing through security at most U.S. airports.

    Going through security has always been a massive headache for most travellers, but this latest spate of delays has been largely self-inflicted. In 2014, U.S. Congress voted to reduce the number of TSA screeners by cutting $26.3 million in the agency’s personnel budget. The 2016 budget, the same as it was in 2015, is the lowest TSA budget in five years.

    Government officials anticipated that the TSA’s PreCheck advance screening program would justify the need for fewer screeners, but not enough passengers have enrolled to make a dent in the long lines. Instead the number of TSA screeners has fallen by 10 per cent, while air travel in the U.S. has increased by 12 per cent.

    “TSA’s primary focus is the current threat environment, as the American transportation system remains a high value target for terrorists,” said TSA

    Read More »from Long security checks at U.S. airports affecting Canadian flights
  • Only US$4,470 a year (that's $373 a month) to rent a home in Canada? Where do I sign up?

    Perhaps Fox News knows the answer.

    In a tweet on Sunday, the U.S. news network offered up a basic assessment of the costs for a U.S. citizen looking to live in Canada.

    It included the aforementioned numbers on rent, as well as other costs, such as groceries, a visa and work permit, permanent resident application, car registration and gas.

    Fox News drew the numbers from the personal finance blog The Penny Hoarder.

    Unfortunately, these bargain-basement prices don’t exist in most of the country. In fact, these numbers are way below the average costs of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in major Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, where they’re pegged at C$1,079, $1,122 $1,103 and $668 respectively.

    While Fox News's data was properly sourced, they misconstrued the data. The yearly rent

    Read More »from No, Fox News, $4,470 isn’t enough to cover rent in most of Canada
  • In more than 82 per cent of fatal car crashes with pedestrians in the U.S. between 1996 and 2007, the point of impact was some part of the front end of a vehicle.

    In many of these collisions the front bumper will ram into a person’s lower legs, sending them away from the vehicle, while the upper body and head fall into the hood or windshield.

    When collisions occur at lower speeds, pedestrian will remain on the hood, but when the velocity is dialed up, the impact becomes much more extreme and can lead to severe injuries.

    According to a 2007 study on pedestrian injuries, at higher speeds people are often flipped upside down before landing on the hood, somersaulted onto the windshield or roof and, at the most extreme, cause them to “pass fully over the vehicle” before they slide, roll or bounce before coming to a rest.

    The severe injuries resulting from these “secondary impacts” is what Google is hoping to mitigate with a new patent for an “eggshell-like” hood that would break upon impact

    Read More »from Google patent for sticky car hood aims to prevent severe injuries
  • Like the persistent Fort McMurray wildfire that continues to grow, so too does the myth that a natural disaster of this scale is defined as an “act of God” and therefore not covered in homeowners’ insurance policies.

    The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently attempted to set the record straight around the misinformation and half truths that continue to swirl in the wake of the Alberta blaze that forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents and has caused billions of dollars in damage.

    Perhaps one of the biggest misunderstandings is the commonly held belief that certain “acts of God” are not covered under home insurance policies. An “act of God” is defined as a natural event that is beyond the control of a person or corporation. Fires, earthquakes and floods are good examples. And as much as the term “act of God” gets bandied about, it is persona non grata within insurance circles.

    “That issue of ‘act of God’ is a common insurance myth that comes up no matter what the

    Read More »from ‘Act of God’ exclusions in insurance policies just a myth
  • By 2020, Millennials will make up 35 per cent of the global workforce. And while 33 per cent of Millennials across the world suspect they’ll retire between 65 and 69, about one in ten say they’ll likely “work until they die,” according to a sweeping survey of 19,000 Millennials across 25 countries by employment firm ManpowerGroup.

    In Japan, where work culture often dictates long hours and overtime is commonplace, that number rises to 37 per cent of Millennials not expecting to retire. It’s a stark contrast to the 14 per cent of Canadians in the demographic who anticipate working their whole lives.

    In the survey, ManpowerGroup likens the Millennial’s career paths to an ultramarathon.

    “Early retirement with a gold watch at 50 or even 60 is an antique attitude,” says the report. “Rather than having one job for life, Millennials think about careers in waves with changing paths, pace and regular breaks.”

    But the fragmented expectations around retirement show the divergence of the

    Read More »from Millennials plan to swap retirement for mid-career breaks
  • In May 2016 Apple struck a deal with seven of Canada’s major banks, including every member of the big five (RBC, CIBC, BMO, TD and Scotiabank) to expand the compatibility of its Apple Pay mobile payment system to all credit cards and debit cards issued by those banks.

    When it launched in Canada in November 2015, Apple Pay was only compatible with cards issued by American Express, which limited the technology’s usefulness, since many stores in Canada don’t accept American Express on account of high merchant fees. Now however, Apple Pay is already compatible with cards from RBC and CIBC and the new deal with the big five banks virtually assures that the majority of Canadian bank account holders will be able to pay with their iPhone the same way they can now tap and pay with their physical credit and debit cards.

    “Our mission in this world is for merchants to give consumers the ability to pay however they want to pay and more … that’s with electronic means,” says Rob Cameron, chief

    Read More »from Apple Pay, Samsung Pay convenience comes at a cost

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