Friday, March 30, 2012

Highlights of the 2012 Federal Budget

The budget will:
• Gradually raise the age of eligibility for Old Age Security from 65 to 67 beginning in 2023.
• Give people the option to voluntarily defer taking your OAS pension, for up to five years, and receive a higher, actuarially adjusted, annual pension as a result.
• Adjust the RDSP to make it easier to open accounts for mentally challenged individuals; permit parents, who save in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for a child with a severe disability, to transfer investment income earned in an RESP on a tax-free (or “rollover”) basis to a RDSP, provided the plans share a common beneficiary;and to relax the rule to provide greater access to RDSP savings for small withdrawals
• Contain no new taxes or tax increases.
• Eliminate the penny.
• Reform regulation in the resource industry, including amending the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
• Allow Canadians to claim more goods duty-free at the border. The limit after 24 hours goes from $50 to $200; for 48 hours it goes up to $800.
• Cap EI premium rate increases to 5 cents a year until the fund is balanced again.
• Eliminate 19,200 government jobs over three years, including 600 senior executives and 7,200 through attrition.
• Cut $2.1 billion from the Department of National Defence over the next three years.
• Cut funding to the CBC by 10 per cent over three years totaling $115 million.
• Cut funding to Elections Canada by $7.5 million a year starting in 2012-13.
• Give $5.2 billion over 11 years to the Canadian Coast Guard.
• Provide $450 million for sports facilities in the Greater Toronto Area for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games.
• Tell consumers to complain directly to food companies about product labelling.
• Give $67 million to the National Research Council to refocus on "business-led, industry-relevant research."
• Streamline overall regulatory reviews of major economic projects.
• Provide $275 million to build and renovate schools on reserves.
• Pass legislation to create standards for First Nations education.
• Refund $130 million in application and processing fees to skilled foreign workers stuck in immigration limbo.
• Raise the retirement age of public servants from 60 to 65, for new employees beginning in 2013.
• Increase employee-contribution levels to pension plans for those working in Canadian Forces, RCMP, Public Service Commission and parliamentarians.
• Make the Governor General pay income tax beginning in 2013.
• Shut down the Public Appointments Commission, Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, and the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy.
• Sell official residences abroad, generating $80 million in revenue.
• Standardize all government emails to one system.
• $205 million over one year for Hiring Credit for Small Business.
• Give $50 million over two years to Youth Employment Strategy.
• Give $150 million over two years on Community Infrastructure Improvement fund
• Give $105 million next year to Via Rail for operational and capital projects.
• Give $101 million over next five years for Esquimalt Graving Dock.
• Give $50 million over two years to protect wildlife at risk.
• Give $8 million to clean up low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Clarington, Ont.
• Provide $44 million over two years to the Canadian Grain Commission to reform their funding model.
• Provide $13.5 million over two years to improve pipeline safety.
• Give $35.7 million over two years to improve tanker safety and inspections, emergency preparedness related to oil spills and updated charts for shipping routes.
• Announce a new global commerce strategy in 2013 that sets trade priorities.
• Provide $9.6 million over three years to the RCMP to fight counterfeiting.
• Give $ 99.2 million over three years to help the provinces create permanent flood mitigation measures.
• The Government has found $5.2 billion in ongoing savings from departmental spending or less than two per cent of federal program spending.

If you would like additional information, feel free to email.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unlocking Old Ontario LIFs and LRIFs

April 30, 2012 is the deadline for Ontario Old Life Income Fund (LIF) and Locked-in Retirement Income Fund (LRIF) clients to take advantage of the one time 50% unlocking opportunity available to them.

In June 2009, Regulation 909 under the Pension Benefits Act of Ontario was amended to include changes to the rules governing Ontario locked-in accounts including Old LIFs* and LRIFs. Until April 30, 2012, owners of an Old LIF or LRIF will have a one-time opportunity to withdraw or transfer 50% of the total market value of the assets of the fund to an RRSP or RRIF.

The request to withdraw or transfer must be made on a form approved by the Superintendent of Financial Services and be submitted to us by April 30, 2012.

No applications for any withdrawal or transfer may be made after April 30, 2012.

Effective May 1, 2012, owners of Old LIFs and LRIFs will no longer be able to
withdraw or transfer 50% of the assets in their account.

For more information check out the information on the FSCO web site

* Old LIFs are Life Income Funds issued on or before December 31, 2007 and locked-in under the Pension Benefits Act of Ontario.