Tuesday, 19 December 2017

The CRA's "lowest return airfare is an annual conundrum"

"... The lowest return airfare is an annual conundrum ... Andy Wong. FCPA. FCGA, CFP  is a tax accountant in Yellowknife.
The Canada Revenue Agency is finally taking this issue seriously. In a new report titled Servicing You Better, released this October, the CRA promised to "explore options that can help taxpayers identify the lowest return airfare".
Here is the back story if you are new to the territories. You qualify tor a travel deduction if you received a Box 32 travel benefit from your employer, and have lived in the Northern parts (Zone B or zone A) of Canada for at least six months when you file your tax return. The deduction allows you to claim the lowest of three amounts the Box 32 benefit, your trip expenses, or the lowest return airfare.
Your Box 32 benefit and trip expenses are no mystery to you. But. what is the lowest return airfare? The CRA says, "the lowest return airfare ordinarily available for regularly scheduled commercial flights, excluding promotions or discounts that are not ordinarily available, on the date that the travel began".
You can only get that airfare information if you ask at the airport, and get it in writing, at the start of your trip. This is totally impractical. Imagine a Paulatuk resident using multiple airlines just to leave the territories and you start to get the picture.
We have been jury rigging the travel deduction by using an annual estimated average airfare provided by Northern airlines. But these amounts only cover 27 communities the airlines serve, of the 58 NWT and NU communities.
I commend the CRA's recent announcement to identify the lowest return airfare options by 2019. But two years is a long time to wait for a solution to this pressing problem.
There is a current reliable option. I suggest the CRA consider the federal government's vacation travel assistance (VTA) entitlement (Google 'vacation travel assistance 2017') as a lowest return airfare alternative.
All federal government employees living in the 266 isolated communities throughout Canada receive the VTA - the Box 32 travel benefit. The VTA is updated semi-annually and is intended to represent 80% of a certain economy fare, for a return flight from each community to the headquarters city.
Whether or not the VTA truly represents the lowest return airfare is irrelevant. That's because we have no idea what the lowest return airfare is. The VTA is a sound option because of its nation-wide application, reliability and. importantly, the airfare values. For example. Yellowknife's VTA is $703.50 for 2017, a low but plausible alternative. Inuvik. Iqaluit and Baker Lake are $2,923. $3,209 and $4,676 respectively. Each is a plausible alternative for those communities.
Can the CRA ignore the law and allow the VTA as an alternative lowest return airfare? Certainly. The CRA introduced the optional simplified method that allowed a fixed $I7 per meal, and fixed per-kilometre cost for driving trips, without receipts, for the travel deduction You can opt out and claim your higher receipted meals and vehicle costs. Similarly, the VTA can be adopted as the lowest return airfare floor amounts. You would also have the right to claim a higher lowest return airfare with proper documentation.
Can the VTA end our annual tax-time conniption? It certainly will for taxpayers living in 266 communities throughout Northern Canada...."
Opinion NORTHERN NEWS SERVICES  MONDAY, December 18.2017  page A11 http://NNSL.com

Monday, 18 December 2017

Managing the resource development sector in a socially and economically sustainable way. Community Exchange between Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the NWT

Managing the resource development sector in a socially and economically sustainable way a Community Exchange between Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the NWT
The group visited a wide variety of companies and attended a wide range of meetings.

From CESO Canadian Executive Service Organization CESO | SACO https://www.ceso-saco.com/ a registered charity (BN 11883 0850 RR 0001), with no political or religious affiliations

"...The distance between #Dornod province in Mongolia and Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, Canada, is about 7,000 kilometers. Despite the vast distance, the two regions share many similarities: both communities are traditionally bonded with the land, water and natural resources; each has a similar climate; and both are deeply involved in the resource development sector. It was these similarities that brought ten representatives from Mongolia to Yellowknife to explore approaches to managing the resource development sector in a #socially and economically sustainable way. ..."
Since 1969, CESO has worked with Indigenous communities across Canada, collaborating on more than 30,000 projects. CESO Volunteer Advisors (VAs) support individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, and community organizations to build long-term economic development, good governance, strong community planning infrastructure, and sound financial management.
Contact Information:
For inquiries about our work with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in Quebec, Atlantic Region, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, contact: Allison Deer, Manager, National Aboriginal Affairs (P: 1-800-268-9052 ext. 5809 | E: adeer@ceso-saco.com)
For inquiries about our work with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs in Ontario, British Columbia, the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, contact: Devin Woods, Client Relations Manager (P: 1-800-268-9052 ext. 4081 | E: dwoods@ceso-saco.com)
The group visited a wide variety of companies and attended a wide range of meetings. PDF of meetings

Saturday, 16 December 2017

VIDEO Legislative Assembly of the NWT's Seniors' Christmas Tea 2017

Legislative Assembly of the NWT's Seniors' Christmas Tea 2017 Hosted by our Yellowknife MLAs Promo video https://youtu.be/X1x0NzbjqCs

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

International Sámi Film Institute workshop invitation

".. Our team is pleased to announce a collaboration with International Sámi Film Institute. We are partners in this development of a series of indigenous ghost/mythical/horror films. Our First workshop is in March 2018 Kautokeino, Norway. Would you like to participate? Check out our call out!..."

Friday, 15 September 2017

New Canadian Housing and Rental Market Report with Affordability Index

1: There are TEN provinces and three TERRITORIES ...
NOT 13 provinces.

“…With Canada’s Housing and Rental Markets already having been a hot news topic for Canadians over the past decade with housing prices continued rising pricing year-over-year,  the new interest rate hikes which have already lead to higher mortgage rates, has created a very anxious environment for many Canadians, and a topic of much discussion for many economists, banking institutions, policy makers, and media commentators.

RentSeeker.ca, one of Canada’s largest and most popular real estate listing and reporting websites, today published a new INFOGRAPHIC showing the average cost of rents and housing prices across all 13 provinces with a newly released affordability index showing how much average income per household is spent on housing.
British Colombia tops the list with 24% of income spent on housing costs, with Ontario following in close second with 23%. View all the data points for all 13 provinces below:..”

Native Women's Association of Canada Poverty Reduction survey

NWAC Poverty Reduction survey
@Native Women's Association of Canada "... NWAC has developed a survey so that we can hear directly from Indigenous women on how to reduce poverty in communities across Canada. Your answers will inform a larger Poverty Reduction Strategy. Thank you for participating!
To access the survey: https://s.surveyplanet.com/B1h-2888-x ..."
This survey has been developed because we want to hear directly from First Nations and Métis women on how to reduce poverty in communities across Canada. This survey will take about 20 minutes to complete and will focus on what services you access or are available in your community. The first few questions are basic questions about you that we ask so we have a better idea of who is responding, and can better represent your answers. Your answers will inform a larger Poverty Reduction Strategy. If you would like to contribute to the larger Federal Government engagement on poverty reduction, please visit
If you have any questions about this survey please e-mail or call NWAC Policy Analyst Leah Quinlan at lquinlan@nwac.ca (613)-355-8948

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Naming the Inuvik to Tukoyaktuk Highway......

Joe Joe Nasogaluak https://www.facebook.com/jonasogaluak posted on Facebook during July 5 "... A formal letter should be written to request the Hamlet of Tuk to start the process in naming the highway after these young boys, it would be an honourable thing to do, to honour the three boys. A tragedy that shouldn't have happened, they were running from the terrible situation they were in. I suggest that a name not be an individual but a name to signify the three on July the 8th 2018. This was a terrible ordeal what these three boys went through and their families. Just an example; "The Freedom Trail"...."

Saturday, 12 August 2017

NWT ECE Minister confirms policy ignoring elders’ federal right to choose

NWT ECE Minister confirms policy ignoring elders' federal right to choose
NWT Income Assistance recipients forced to take their CPP at 65 depriving seniors of an estimated 42% of their pension for the rest of their lives.
"..Thank you for bringing forward concerns on behalf of your constituent and their questions about accessing Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS) benefits as an Income Assistance (IA) client. As you know, IA provides financial assistance to Northerners to meet their basic and enhanced needs to help people to make choices that are right for them, according to their personal circumstances, efforts, abilities, aspirations and health.
In accordance with the IA Regulations, applicants are not required to access pension benefits before s/he attains the age of 65 years. However, at age 65, IA applicants are required to apply for CPP benefits, which helps ensure Northerners are self-reliant as individual capacity allows and have sufficient resources to meet their needs. As a program that supports those most in need, it is essential that IA applicants apply for other financial resources that they may be eligible for in order to ensure they are accessing all income that is available to them. The Department is not considering a review or amendment of the current IA legislation at this time, but I can assure you that we will follow up with Income Security Programs (ISP) staff to ensure program requirements are clear and well-communicated with IA applicants.
According to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), applicants can begin receiving their CPP benefits at age 65. However, recipients can take a reduced CPP retirement …" Text via @Julie Green MLA Yellowknife Centre on Feb 27th, 10:04am text via Facebook Messenger from the Minister of ECE

"..Taking your pension after age 65 - If you take your pension late, your monthly payment amount will increase by 0.7% for each month after age 65 that you delay receiving it up to age 70 (8.4% per year).
This means that, an individual who starts receiving their retirement pension at the age of 70 will receive 42% more than if they had taken it at 65. […] There is no financial benefit in delaying taking your pension after age 70."

George A Lessard
Yellowknife, NT
Cell/text/📱/FaceTime / WhatsApp # +1(867) 445-9193
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias /
E-mail: mediamentor@gmail.com
Skype: themediamentor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mediamentor
Canada Without Poverty board member for the NWT http://www.cwp-csp.ca/ 
Taxpayers' Ombudsman's Consultative Committee Member / Government of Canada

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Homelessness in Yellowknife Northwest Territories

#AUDIO+ Cody Punter talks about homelessness in Yellowknife "… Cody Punter is a young photojournalist who has been living in Yellowknife for the past four years. He published last week a photo essay of 24 powerful pictures about homelessness in Yellowknife. @CKLB @Melinda Trochu met with him in #Yellowknife, on a parking lot, where he spent a lot of time talking with street people. …"

"…  Yellowknife's #homeless #crisis: Government plays catch up as people try to survive
on the street in one of #coldest cities in the world - Clayton Bearard takes a sip from a dark brown bottle before passing it around a circle of people across from Yellowknife's downtown liquor store. It's not even three o'clock in the afternoon but with a stretch of warm weather following a frigid spring blizzard, the growing huddle of street people seem happy to soak up the sun as they polish off a 26 oz. bottle of Private Stock.
Clayton, a 43-year-old originally Fort Resolution, N.T., hasn't worked a steady job since injuring his back while working construction more than a decade ago – an accident which exacerbated a painful spinal condition that's bothered him since he was a child. Between a monthly disability check and contracts for shovelling snow and other odd jobs, he manages to make enough to buy the booze and weed he needs to numb the physical and emotional pain that has come from living a hard life on the streets. …"

Ending Yellowknife homelessness would help 1,500 people but may cost $170M, says consultant - ​Specialist believes city's 10-year plan to end homelessness is worth the money  By Ollie Williams, CBC News Posted: Apr 20, 2017 - bout 1,500 people, or 10 per cent of Yellowknife's population, experience homelessness at some point each year, according to a consultant who gave city councillors an update on a 10-year plan to end homelessness that's in progress. …"

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

North America's Largest Herd of Caribou on the Move | Wild Canadian Year

“… Watch in 360 as a herd of female #caribou walk hundreds of kilometres north to have their calves in [#Kuujjuarapik #Nunavik] one of the most remote parts of northern Quebec.
They deployed their 360 camera ahead of the herd to and waited over an hour for the caribou to pass by. "We watched hopefully. After all our efforts, it would still takes a bit of luck to get a our shot. And then – success! The migrating caribou passed right by the 360-camera, seemingly inquisitive of this foreign arrival in their land.”
The result? Intimate never-seen-before footage of the herd as they wandered by.
Click play on the video to watch. …”
or via YouTube here https://youtu.be/Wc-B97hRwUs

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Message to Ywllowknife attendees of The Walrus Talks We Desire a Better Country:...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Walrus Foundation <noreply@eventbrite.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 9:01 AM
Subject: Message to attendees of The Walrus Talks We Desire a Better Country:...


Exciting news: The Walrus Talks Conversations about Canada National Tour kicks off in just one month. We can't wait to visit you in your city to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation.


Please note that our events have limited seating. Many of our events are now sold out, and several have extensive waiting lists. If for any reason you are no longer able to attend the event, please cancel your Eventbrite order or let us know so your seat can be filled. If you have trouble cancelling your order, just send us a note at events@thewalrus.ca.


Most of our events will be streamed live online, and we will post videos at thewalrus.ca after each talk. To stay updated with all news about the Walrus Talks, please sign up for our newsletter here.


If you have any questions about the tour, feel free to get in touch with us at events@thewalrus.ca. We look forward to seeing you soon!



Une nouvelle excitante : la tournée nationale The Walrus Talks — Conversations sur le Canada sera lancée dans un mois seulement. Nous avons très hâte de visiter votre ville pour célébrer le 150e anniversaire de la Confédération du Canada. Veuillez noter que de nombreux événements sont près d'afficher complet, et que nous avons de longues listes d'attente pour plusieurs autres. Si jamais, pour quelque raison que ce soit, vous ne souhaitez plus utiliser votre billet, veuillez annuler votre commande Eventbrite pour que le siège puisse être attribué à quelqu'un d'autre. Si vous éprouvez des difficultés à annuler votre commande, vous n'avez qu'à nous envoyer un message à events@thewalrus.ca.


La majorité des événements seront diffusés en direct sur Internet, et nous publierons des vidéos à thewalrus.ca après chaque Talk. Pour être informés des dernières nouvelles sur les Walrus Talks, inscrivez-vous à notre infolettre ici.


Si vous avez des questions concernant la tournée, n'hésitez pas à nous écrire à events@thewalrus.ca. Notre avons hâte d'enfin vous rencontrer !



The Walrus Talks We Desire a Better Country: Yellowknife, NT

Monday, 6 March 2017 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (MST)
date Northern Arts and Cultural Centre
4701 52nd Ave.
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N7
Organized by The Walrus Foundation
Download Tickets
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Contact the Organizer

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Northern Skies - Aerial Video of #Yellowknife Canada in New Year 2017

"... Aerial video took in the first day of 2017, Yellowknife, Canada.
Really cold for drone flying, had to keep the battery warm before take off.
Basically shot around the area of Yellowknife, NWT, Canada
-Yellowknife River Day Use Area (Intro)
-Dettah First Nations Community (0:43)
-City of Yellowknife (0:56) …”
by Andrew An​