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Newsletter. Issue 2008-01. January 05, 2008
 
 
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Newsline Canada

Crisis in Kenya

Even though the loss of life has exceed 300, normal life is slowly returning.
The following are excerpts from various sources:

  • Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Kenya as a result of the current level of violence and instability following the presidential and parliamentary elections held on December 27, 2007.

  • For more information go to
    http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=149000

  • Canadian travellers already in Kenya should have their travel documents handy in case they choose to leave early. They should also register with the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi.
    Canadians are advised to exercise a high degree of caution because of the current high threat of terrorist attacks against Western interests in Kenya.

  • Telephone calls or emails to folks there indicate that they are all well. No reports of family or friends as victims of violence.

  • The holiday festivities at the Goan Gymkhana in Nairobi were cancelled.

  • A few families went across the border to Arusha to avoid potential conflict.

  • Asian traders in the Lake Victoria town of Kisumu had their shops and businesses looted.

  • Religious services to pray for peace were held in main places of worship including the Holy Family Basilica.

  • The new President and opposition leader are to hold talks once violence recedes.

  • The nation’s Attorney General will be announcing an inquiry on the polling results.

  • There are 15,000 Kenyan Canadians in Canada. They have expressed their concerns to the Canadian Government here.

New Year Brings Tax Savings For Canadians
JULIAN BELTRAME
The Canadian Press
December 30, 2007 at 2:23 PM EST
http://www.theglobeandmail.com

OTTAWA — Canadian workers, consumers and businesses will all start paying lower taxes starting New Year's Day. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's surprise mini-budget in October ushered in $60-billion in tax cuts over five years, with many of those reductions coming into effect on Jan. 1.

According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, most Canadian families can expect to reduce their tax burden by well over $1,000 by the end of 2008 due to the combined savings from a lower GST, lower federal income taxes and provincial measures. That is good news for Canadians, who Mr. Flaherty says are overtaxed, but also for the economy, says Dale Orr, managing director of Global Insight Canada.

Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mr. Flaherty have warned in year-end interviews with numerous news outlets that the Canadian economy is entering a year of turbulence. They blame tight financial markets and the fallout from a slowing U.S. economy, which will affect Canada's export-oriented industries.

Many economists have forecast Canada's growth to slow in 2008, particularly in the first half of the year. The most dramatic single tax saving most Canadians will realize in 2008 will come when they file their income tax return this spring. Restoring a tax measure first introduced by the previous Liberal government two years ago, Mr. Flaherty cut the lowest tax bracket to 15 per cent and raised the personal exemption to $9,600, effective last January.

That means the government has been deducting more than necessary from pay stubs throughout the year and filers will be able to recoup the difference in one lump sum with their tax returns.

For a single taxpayer earning $45,000 and more, the payoff will be $223.

The other headline grabber from the mini-budget — reduction of the GST tax rate on goods and services to five per cent from six — also goes into effect New Year's Day.

Most Canadians are likely to gain between $120 and $200 in small increments with most purchases throughout the year. But the savings will be dramatic with purchases of big ticket items like homes, automobiles, furniture or appliances. When rebates on lower-priced homes are included, a family purchasing a new $300,000 home will save $1,920 in GST, rising to $5,000 on a $500,000 residence, according to the finance department. A family spending $30,000 on a new minivan will save $300.

Tax Savings in ’07 (Especially for Families) and Dips Down Again in ’08 – Taxpayers Hope Next Budget will Cut Rates

• Provincial Winners: Newfoundland, Quebec & B.C.
The Loser: New Brunswick
Ottawa: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released projected income, payroll and sales tax changes kicking in on January 1st, 2008. Also calculated are retroactive personal income tax changes – which apply to the 2007 tax year – announced by the finance minister in the fall economic statement that saw the bottom income tax rate fall to 15% from 15.5% and the basic personal exemption – the amount a person can earn before they pay federal income tax – increase by $671, from $8,929 to $9,600.

 

Immigrating to Canada – Beware of Immigration Consultants
http://www.thestar.com/immigration

Three years after self-regulation, the lucrative immigration consulting industry has failed to purge itself of advisers who operate beyond the reach of the rules. A Star investigation that included undercover reporting and interviews with dozens of consultants, lawyers, police and advocacy groups found major loopholes in a regulatory system that still fails to protect the people who place their trust, dreams and money in the hands of consultants.

Some of the issues:
Despite measures that were supposed to keep unqualified people out of the business, it seems anyone can still hang out a shingle as a consultant.

It's been estimated as many as 6,000 were operating in Canada before 2004, and untold numbers abroad and on the Web. CSIC has only 1,068 current members, down from the original 1,600 – many were suspended after failing a required test or not paying dues.

Did thousands of pre-regulation consultants just up and quit? Not likely.

So-called "ghost" consultants continue to charge for their services, but avoid detection by not signing the paperwork. Some registered consultants and police believe legal loopholes have made "ghosts" a bigger problem than ever.

"It did get worse. They are still practising, they are still advertising, they are badmouthing those who are registered," says consultant Vilma Filici, who is also the academic co-ordinator of a Seneca College program that certifies immigration practitioners.

The only stick immigration officials have to wield when they discover a non-member consulting is to refuse to process an application. Then it's the client who pays the price – Ottawa threatens them with a two-year ban on coming to Canada.


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