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Attend a Small Business Centre event near you

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Rogers and store managers will host customer events which allow small businesses the opportunity to meet and network with other small business owners, learn from local guest speakers and have access to Small Business Specialists with insights to drive their business and technology solutions forward.

Disclaimer: Rogers Communications is the parent company of this station and this website.

Attend a Small Business Centre event near you. For more information and to register, visit: rogers.com/businesscentres

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2017
    • Hanover, ON
    • Oakville, ON
    • Brampton, ON
  • Tuesday, June 13, 2017
    • Aurora, ON
    • London, ON
  • Thursday, June 15, 2017
    • Woodbridge, ON
  • Tuesday, July 4, 2017
    • Kingston, ON
  • Thursday, July 13, 2017
    • Waterloo, ON
  • Thursday, July 20, 2017
    • St. Catherines, ON

40 Mother’s Day gift ideas from our BT hosts

BT Toronto | posted Friday, May 12th, 2017

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Kevin, Dina, TK and Frank each share their top ten gift ideas for mom this Mother’s Day!

Kevin: 

  1. Flowers
  2. Candy
  3. Spa day
  4. Mani/pedi
  5. Breakfast in bed
  6. Homemade gift certificates
  7. Day off
  8. Shopping spree
  9. Picture of her made of macaroni
  10. Homemade gift basket with her favourite things

Bonus:

  1. Books and tea
  2. Bath salts/candles/favourite music download

Dina: 

  1. Hug her
  2. Say you love her
  3. Give her a day of rest
  4. Do the laundry
  5. Clean the house
  6. Make her dinner
  7. Wash dishes
  8. Put away dishes
  9. Go for a walk together
  10. Repeat once a month!

TK: 

  1. Mani
  2. Pedi
  3. Bikini wax
  4. Blowout
  5. Makeup application
  6.  Blouse/top
  7. Skirt/Pants
  8. Heels/shoes
  9. Handbag/accessories
  10. Glamour shots/photo shoots

(Bonus: And a date with George Clooney).

Frank: 

  1. Roses
  2. Hydrangeas
  3. Ageratum
  4. Petunias
  5. Pansies
  6. Mandevilla
  7. Orchids
  8. Weed the garden
  9. Mulch the garden
  10. Cut her lawn

18 ways Ontario’s budget will affect you

Julie Cazzin | posted Friday, Apr 28th, 2017

(Shutterstock)

1. No increase to personal or corporate income taxes.

2. A cut of 25%, on average, to household electricity bills, starting this summer. Low-income Ontarians and those living in eligible rural, remote or on-reserve First Nation communities would receive even bigger cuts.

3. Tobacco taxes will go up by $10 per carton of 200 cigarettes over a three-year period. That works to an immediate increase of $2 per carton, effective 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 28, 2017.

4. The introduction of the Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit for those 65 or older. This amounts to a refundable benefit of 15% of eligible public transit costs, providing an average annual benefit of $130.

5. Starting January 1, 2018, Ontario will launch OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacareproviding universal drug coverage to all children and youth aged 24 years and younger across the province, regardless of family income. There will be no deductible and no co-payment and the program includes coverage of 4,400 medicines and most cancer treatments.

6. Free average tuition for more than 210,000 Ontario students and lower costs for many more. Eligible students, including mature students and adult learners with annual family incomes of $50,000 or less, will receive enough in OSAP grants to coverage average tuition costs. That means that 80 per cent of students with annual family incomes below $90,000 will receive grants that equal or exceed the average cost of tuition and will not need to be repaid. (In the past, money in an RESP was taken into account when calculating the amount of OSAP grants and loans. Starting this September, that will no longer be the case, meaning the possibility for larger OSAP grants and loans—even for the kids whose families have saved some money in RESPs.)

7. Students with kids may also be able to receive OSAP funding for child care costs.

8. Increasing the minimum salary an individual needs to earn before they must start repaying OSAP from $25,000 to $35,000.

9. The limit on cash and liquid assets for single people receiving Ontario Works will be increased from $2,500 to $10,000. For couples, the limit is going from $5,000 to $15,000. For Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients, limits will be increased from $5,000 to $40,000 for single people, and from $7,500 to $50,000 for couples. These changes start January 2018.

10. Gifts of any amount will not reduce the amount of social assistance people receive if the funds are used to pay first and last month’s rent, purchase a principal residence or buy a vehicle, taking effect September 2017.

11. The income exemption for cash gifts will be increased from $6,000 to $10,000 for both Ontario Disability Support Programs (ODSP) recipients as well as Ontario Works recipients.

12. Increases to ODSP and Ontario Works benefits for recipients will be 2%. As of Sept. 1, 2017 for ODSP and Oct. 1 2017 for Ontario Works.

13. As of now, the elimination of the $30 Drive Clean emission test fee.

14. Updating the Land Transfer Tax (LTT) by doubling the maximum refund to $4,000 for qualifying first-time home buyers if you’re a Canadian or permanent citizen.

15. The introduction of a foreign buyers’ tax (the non-resident speculation tax) of 15% that would apply on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region bought by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada— or by foreign corporations. As an example, a home that cost $1 million would mean an extra $150,000 due to the new tax, bringing the final cost of the home to $1,150,000.

16. Regulatory changes that will allow decisions by the investment industry self-regulatory organizations (SROs) to be filed with the court. This will improve the likelihood for individuals to actually collect the fines they’ve been awarded.

17. Clearer financial statements for those who are a part of Defined Contribution Pension Plans (DCPP). As well, employers who provide DCPP plans to employees will also be able to provide continued financial management of these plans throughout the de-accumulation phase of retirement rather than transferring the funds to a third-party (like to a bank account). The benefit? Lower investment costs—and tens of thousands of dollars saved—over a lifetime.

18. Replacing the provincial caregiver and infirm dependant tax credits with a new Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit (OCTC). Dependants would not be required to live with the caregiver to claim the new credit.

Keeping your kids’ closet, toys + bathrooms organized

Janice Meredith | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

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Organizing your kids and having them keep it that way!

First off you need to edit out and see what you have left to organize before you begin any system.

Kids are actually quite used to everything having a place and having to be a part of putting it back. They thrive on the success of getting things in the right place.  At school everything is labeled or has a place, so let’s keep that same action going at home.

  1. Closet:

Keeps things simple, clean and organized. But most importantly, at your child’s eye level and within arms reach. Try to keep out-of-season inventory out of the way.

Expandable Bar, Life At Home, Real Canadian Super Store, $19.99

More things are not helpful.  All their clothes should be able to fit in their room. If there is overflow, you have too much stuff.

Two baskets keep small things (that get passed on once it’s full) or bigger incoming items making rotating the items an ongoing practice.

Each child has its own type/colour of hanger and own laundry bin which makes it easier for distributing from the laundry room as kids should be putting away their own laundry.

Felt slim profile hangers, Homesense, $6.99

The third upper closet bin is for keepsakes. So they can dump/place/toss into the bin through out the school year and then at the end of the school year, this closet bin gets edited and emptied into the real keepsake bin. They make their own choices about what to keep.

There are also digital websites to host your child’s art projects that you can share with family once you have taken a picture of it. Artsomia or ArtKive

Morning and bedtime routines help solidify the actions so we keep to the organization. They can see everything they own. They are a part of putting it away If something is missing, we know quickly ie hat or mitts as it is not in it’s place.

Just like with adults, when we can see everything we have we are more inclined to use everything we have.  Also means we won’t ask for what we don’t need. Kids understand things have to be removed to get something new.

2. Toys:

I provide the storage container for toys and it’s their choice and in their control about which toys to keep in that limited space. It’s also good to reference back on when birthday’s or gift-receiving to know what they have and what they are using.

Divide toys based on the use – common – keep low and easily accessible, less frequent – move higher.

Easy access baskets, Homesense, $12.99 –small, $16.99 – large

With everything in a bin, you can rotate out and in toys to keep them fresh. 2-3 bins accessible at a time, the others in a cupboard.

Underbed storage is a great place for toys, games and books. Especially for those sharing bedrooms. It’s their sacred place.

Skubb soft side small storage bins, Ikea, $9.99

Stuffies have one spot to go. Anymore and some need to be edited out and donated.

Woven basket, Real Canadian Super Store, $23.37

Back of door shoe organizers are the best for sorting game figures, keep sakes, hair accessories and so much more.

Life At Home over the door organizer Real Canadian Super Store, $24.99

Papers get collected and organized in one spot.

Grundtal magnetic knife strip, Ikea, $14.99

Magnetic bulldog clips, Staples, $5.43

Wood wall storage with wire bins, Homesense, $59.99

3. Bathroom:

They each have a hook and a drawer  for their own product. My boys are all so different that it’s an easier time for them to simply use their own toothpaste in their own way. Meaning one is messy, one is so proper, etc. Instead of buying three tubes of toothpaste through the year, I buy three for them each that all last that same time but without fighting.

Towels and robes get hung on their own hooks which means they aren’t laying on the floor in a wet puddle.

Kitchy fish hooks Homesense $1.99

Blecka hooks Ikea, $6.99

My kids know with me if it isn’t done correctly, they can’t move on to what they want – snack, play until things are put back in their spot. Obviously you have to be a gate keeper but soon it does become more effortless on their part. We have fewer missing items when things are organized. Fewer chaotic starts or finishes to our day. It’s taught on the premise that it’s to be respectful way for us all to live and get along.

9 places to donate old clothing and furniture

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 18th, 2017

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Furniture drop-off:

Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore

Allows people to drop off their unwanted furniture at locations across Canada

Furniture bank

Accepts gently used furniture, housewares, electronics and artwork that go directly to families in need

Shelter and Charity:

Donating to shelters: 

Red Door Family Shelter 

Accepts gently used seasonal clothes and shoes, household items and new baby items

Charity pick-up: 

Clothesline

Will pick up bags of gently used items like clothing, bedding and linens right from your doorstep.

Thrift stores and eyeglasses

Donating to thrift stores: 

Salvation Army Thrift Store

Clothing, furniture, electronics and antiques are among the list of accepted

Prescription eyeglasses:

The Lions Club

collects, cleans, and sorts eye glasses (as well as hearing aids), and provides them to needy people in many countries around the world.

Stores and mom-to-mom

Selling back to stores: 

Once Upon A Child

Allows you to sell everything kid related back to the store for a percentage of the original price.

Play it again sports 

Offers the same service with on-the-spot evaluation of items brought in, but with used sports and fitness equipment.

Mom to Mom Sales    

Toronto Mom to Mom, indoor garage sale of baby/child items

Tips from BT viewers:

 

4 easy ways to reduce your data usage

Prajakta Dhopade | posted Thursday, Apr 6th, 2017

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Smartphones are ultra-capable devices that have proven to be extremely useful when you’re out and need to send an email or download a presentation without access to a computer. Being connected on the go is a must and while some may rely on free Wifi hotspots, most phone users have data plans that offer 3G or LTE service ranging from 100 megabytes a month to a more robust (and pricier) 10 gigabyte bandwidth. There are plenty of data plan deals out there but no matter what you choose, it’s important to stay within your bandwidth limit—otherwise your next monthly phone bill may be several dollars more than you expected. Here are four ways to keep your data usage in check.

1. Be aware of how much you actually use.

Keep track of how much cellular data you really need by downloading an app like My Data Manager (available for Android and iOS) to log your usage. Some smartphones let you keep track of data hogs internally. On iPhones, go to General > Cellular and scroll down to see all your apps and how much data they’ve used since you last refreshed the counter. Try refreshing every month to keep track. You might even have the option of turning off data usage for certain apps, which could come in handy. Finding the root of your overage problem will make combatting the extra few dollars on your monthly bill that much easier.

2. Try the opt-in approach.

If you have a smaller data plan you may want to try the opt-in approach and turn off your data completely.“You’ll still be able to text, you’ll still be able to place calls and receive calls but by default your phone won’t use any of your mobile data and then on those occasional times when you need to look something up on the web or need to use Google maps, go in, turn it on and do what you need to do,” suggests tech expert Simon Cohen. This way you only use your cellular data when you really need it and prevent any background processes from sucking up precious bandwidth when you’re not using your phone.

3. Streaming videos uses more cellular data than you might realize.

“There’s simply no way of consuming video without consuming quite a bit of bandwidth,” says Cohen. “An hour and a half of HD video can easily use up 800 mb to 1 GB of data before you know it.” While browsing your timeline, you may have noticed that social media services like Facebook and Twitter automatically play videos as you scroll past them. Access the settings for the apps and disable this function or enable it for when you’re connected to wifi only to ensure that you don’t waste data without even realizing.

4. Turn off location services.

While your phone’s GPS doesn’t necessarily use data itself, keeping it on means that other apps are constantly using your location (and mobile data) to churn out more information about what’s nearby. Otherwise, you can disable certain apps from using your location to minimize this data-hogging effect.


6 unique summer camps for kids

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

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  1. Rooks to Cooks

Where: Midtown Toronto

Age: 5 to 11

Description: Get kids packing their own lunch and even preparing dinner. Depending on the class, kids can focus on kitchen skills (chopping, cooking techniques) or baking. They bring home some of the food they cook, and you get to be a guest at their pop-up restaurant during the week.

Price: $320-400

2. Girls Rock Camp Toronto

Girls 8-16 can learn their choice of instrument over a week-long period at the Sony Centre. Mentoring female rockers will help the girls play in a band, write songs and perform live on stage. The camp aims to help boost self-esteem and self-empowerment. The camps are four-days long and $300.

3. Opera Camp

Located at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, kids will write and compose their own operas, which includes choosing a role, rehearsing and creating costumes, props and a set for their production that they will perform for their loved ones on the last day. There are separate camps for grades 1-3, 4-8 and 9-12. Prices range from $310-$360.

4. News Academy

The News Academy at Ryerson teaches kids ages 14-17 how to shoot and edit their own video news stories. Kids will work in supervised groups and tackle news stories in downtown Toronto. They also will gain access to the television studio where they will record a professional newscast. Prices range from $355-$375.

5. Toronto Brigantine

A sailing program for kids 13-18. A more advanced program, teens can learn to sail large brigantine ships across Lake Ontario while being a part of a seamen crew.  Prices range from $120- $225 a week, and the camp is for ages 5-12.

6. SPFX Makeup Summer Camp

The College of Makeup Art and Design offers a special effects makeup summer camp for ages 13-18. Kids can learn how to create ugly bruises, scars, burns and zombie makeup. The week-long workshop costs $500 and includes a makeup kit.

Top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits to score you a big return

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 4th, 2017

Filing your taxes can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The hardest part is knowing what you’re eligible to deduct and claim for credits on your return. There are many tax-saving opportunities that people easily forget about and this list is a good reminder on what kind of tax relief is available to you as a taxpayer.

What’s the difference between a deduction and credit?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of income you have subject to the tax whereas the tax credit reduces the tax owing.

Here are the top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits you may not have known could score you a big return.

1. Medical Expenses- (Lines 330 and 331)

Services:

  • Dental
  •  Tutoring for someone with a learning disability

Products:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Equipment to relieve or treat an illness.
  • Gluten-Free products

2. Charitable contributions (Line 349)

  • Keep track of your receipts
  • Consider pooling them with your spouse, credit goes up the more you donate after $200.
  • Union / Professional Dues (LINE 212)
  • Moving expenses deduction if you are moving at least 40km to be closer to work. (Line 248)
  • Real estate commissions
  • Transportation and storage
  • Utilities and disconnections
  • Travel expenses- hotels and meals

3. The Disability Tax Credit (Lines 316-318)

Tax credit for people with a disability or those helping a person with a disability.

  • Child with Type 1 Diabetes
  •  Parkinson’s
  • Depression

4. Eligible Dependent Credit (Line 305)

You may be able to claim this amount for one other person if at any time in the year you met all of the following conditions at once:

  • You did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person.
  • You supported a dependant in 2016.
  • You lived with the dependant (in most cases in Canada) in a home you maintained. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.
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