Starting a Business in Canada – Part 2 of 2

This article is continued from Jenny’s first article, “Starting a Business in Canada – Part 1 of 2”.

PREPARING PLAN B: WHAT IF IT FAILS?

A frequent cause of personal financial difficulties is the failure of a business and the attendant business-related liabilities personally owed by the company owner. Here are some simple suggestions to preemptively protect your personal assets in the event the business fails:

1. As we suggested in the previous section, consider incorporating the business. Incorporation will provide you with a level of creditor protection. So long as you’ve been current on paying your statutory liabilities (listed in the previous section) and those creditors for which you gave a personal guarantee, you’ll be personally protected from your other business debts.

2. Consider transferring personal assets to a spouse’s name or a family trust. After the transfer, these assets no longer owned by you and are therefore not subject to claims of your personal creditors.

3. If you are putting away money for retirement, consider investing in RRSPs that are exempt from the claims of your personal creditors; for example, segregated funds. The distinction between segregated funds and mutual funds is that segregated funds are insurance contracts. The Ontario Insurance Act provides that:

“where the beneficiary of the insurance contract is a spouse, child, grandchild or parent of a person whose life is insured… the rights and interests of the insured in the insurance money and in the contract are exempt from execution or seizure…”

Therefore, insurance products held in RRSPs will be exempt from seizure by your personal creditors.

A very important point: you should make these arrangements before you get into personal financial trouble, not after you’ve become exposed to personal debts. If you were to say, transfer your home to your spouse when the bank is trying to collect on the personal guarantee you gave to them, these arrangements will not work. There are laws that can set aside transfers of assets where the intent is to hide your assets from your creditors as they’re trying to collect their debts.

Therefore, make arrangements to protect yourself personally with these tips before you open the doors to your business, not after you’ve closed them!

SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS

Finding a location

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses from home. If that suits you, then read no further.

However, if you require actual business premises, you should consider the following factors:

* How will your customers get to you? Is it conveniently located by public transportation? Is there free parking?
* How much space will you need to operate?
* What is the reputation of the landlord? Do they regularly maintain the upkeep of the building premises? You don’t want to turn off potential customers because they think your place looks like a slum.
* How are the views and lighting? You don’t want rent a place with a view of the wall from the next building. You want to create a nice work environment for your …

Safety in Rosarito Baja California México

by Victor Loza and Sharon Heafey

Is the Press biased when it comes to reporting about dangers in Mexico? In our opinion, yes, it is. There is no doubt that Mexico is having problems right now, but does that really affect the average student, tourist or investor?

Recently there were shootings during Mardi Gras in New Orleans that were not widely reported in the US media. Yet CNN on the same day ran a report of three drug dealers killed in Mexico. After that, more warnings were released advising tourists and students to stay away from Mexico. Should there have been warnings to the same groups to stay out of New Orleans?

The recent news has once again injured northern Baja’s tourist trade by repeating old news that, in most cases, happened a year ago. At the same time, reporters are saying little to nothing about the shootings during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Why didn’t the shootings in New Orleans make a bigger splash in the US media? According to Bob Johnson, general manager of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center-New Orleans, it would be an unfair tactic, because crime is a problem in most metropolitan cities. “I’m not sure why New Orleans is picked on,” Johnson said. “Certainly New Orleans doesn’t have a corner on the crime market. Other cities are as bad or approaching as bad with street crime.”

Still, cities that compete with New Orleans convention business and leisure travel may try to use the Mardi Gras incident and the city’s other crime problems to try to persuade visitors not to visit. See the full story at http://www.nola.com/news/?/base/news-1/1235630007176920.xml&coll=1. Many cities in Mexico, such as Rosarito, Ensenada and Tijuana are already suffering greatly from the exaggerated media reports.

A recent report in the Los Angeles Times stated that Los Angeles had 130 murders by gunshot over the period from January 1 to March 9, 2009 (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/crime/homicidemap/). In stark contrast to this, Rosarito beach had ZERO persons killed over that same period and Tijuana had THREE – all related to drug crimes.

While living in the United States we experienced the fear of going to McDonalds or the mall, or worrying that some deranged individual would take a gun to school and start shooting innocent children. We lived through “Freeway Rage” where innocent people were shot and some were killed. We sat in front of the television in horror while the news reported killings in high schools and government offices. In all of these cases innocent people were hurt or killed.

In Mexico, almost all of the shootings are taking place between drug dealers or between police and the drug cartel. The U.S. also has its share of drug related shootings but they are commonly referred to as “Drive bys.”

Obviously some of the news about Mexico is accurate, and we are not going to deny that innocent people are killed in Mexico, but it is not to the extent the U.S. media makes it …

Travel Insurance in a Package: Csa and Hth Travel Insurance

Two of the best known names in the travel insurance industry are CSA and HTH travel insurance. Both of these insurance companies have been around for a while insuring travelers. They both offer packages that will insure the investment that you have made in your travel package.

Keeping your Money Safe while Traveling

When you are spending money for travel, you will want to make sure that the money is safe by insuring the travel plans. The more you spend on the travel arrangements and the riskier the travel arrangements, the more money the travel insurance will cost you. Both CSA and HTH are travel insurance companies that weigh risk of the venture with the premium. Not everyone gets the same flat premium for their travel coverage when they are using these companies. Nor do they get the same coverage. Everything depends on the type of travel that you are doing and the type of coverage that you desire.

Comprehensive Travel Insurance with CSA and HTH Travel Insurance

CSA is a name that is known to most travel agents and is one of the most popular travel insurance companies that is used. Many travel agencies will try to get travelers to get insurance when they are going on a trip, just in case of a cancellation or inclement weather that can prevent their enjoyment. CSA is one of the companies that will protect travelers against poor weather when they are going on a trip where they expect the weather to be good. The amount for which they offer insurance depends on the type of insurance that someone is getting and the likelihood of something going wrong. CSA is a company that will weigh out the risks of the insurance and balance it with the cost of the insurance.

HTH is another travelers insurance that specializes in medical coverage for those who get sick when they are on vacation. HTH also takes into consideration the chances of the person getting sick as well as the general overall health of the person being insured. The country of their travel destination is also considered when it comes to policies offered by HTH travel insurance. Both HTH and CSA will give broad packages for travel insurance that cover just about everything that can go wrong with the trip for one price. The price that someone pays for such a premium on travel insurance depends on the odds of something going wrong.

Quick and Efficient Service with CSA and HTH Travel Insurance

When it comes to claims, CSA and HTH both handle them quickly and effectively. If you get travel insurance and need to make a claim, you will need to have proof of a loss. You will have to present the proof of the loss to the travel insurance claims adjuster so that you can get money back. Neither CSA or HTH will insure a traveler based upon their enjoyment of the trip. Losses that are incurred during a trip have to be concrete …

The Basics of California Workers’ Compensation

How Workers’ Compensation Works

All California employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits to their employees under California Labor Code Section 3700. There are five basic types of workers’ compensation benefits – medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation services, and death benefits.

How Is Coverage Structured in a Workers’ Compensation Policy?

Workers’ compensation coverage is offered under Part One of a workers’ compensation insurance policy. In Part One, the insurance company agrees to promptly pay all benefits and compensation due to an injured worker. Employers Liability insurance can provide important coverage in addition to workers’ compensation insurance. Employers Liability is offered under Part Two of a workers’ compensation and Employers Liability Insurance policy. Employers Liability Part Two protects the employer against instances where an employee’s injury or disease is not considered work related.

How Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance Purchased?

Employers must purchase workers’ compensation insurance from either a licensed insurance company or through the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF). SCIF is a state-operated entity that exists in order to transact workers’ compensation on a non-profit basis. SCIF competes with private workers’ compensation insurance companies for business and also operates as the insurer of last resort if private companies are not willing to offer workers’ compensation insurance.

What Happens to an Employer Who Does Not Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Employers who fail to purchase workers’ compensation insurance are in violation of the California Labor Code. The Director of the Department of Industrial Relations has the authority to issue a stop order against any company who is discovered to be unlawfully uninsured for workers’ compensation. A stop order closes down business operations until workers’ compensation insurance is secured.

How Are Workers’ Compensation Premiums Calculated?

Classification
Workers’ compensation premium calculation is based upon how employees are classified according to their specific work duties and the rate assigned to each corresponding employee classification. Classifications are developed and assigned by the workers’ compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) in most cases.
Rating
Workers’ compensation insurers assign a specific rate to each occupational classification code. Currently, California workers’ compensation insurers operate under an “open” rating system. This means that individual companies set rates based on their ability to adequately cover losses and expenses in each classification (occupational business class). Open rating requires that all workers’ compensation insurers file their rates and all applicable supplementary rate information with the California Dept. of Insurance. Rates must be adequate to maintain the solvency of an insurance company. The Insurance Commissioner will not approve rates if they are inadequate to cover an insurer’s losses and expenses, unfairly discriminatory, or create a monopoly in the marketplace. The rate itself is expressed in dollars and cents and is multiplied by each $100 of payroll per classification.

Insurance Claims

The California Dept. of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation assists employers and employees with workers’ compensation claims. When disputes arise regarding a workers’ compensation claim, the Information and Assistance Unit attempts to resolve the dispute. If they are unable to resolve …

Travel Insurance: Sun, Sand and Sickness

Travel insurance is probably one of the most confusing types of insurance around. Numerous clauses, sub-clauses and a myriad of little stipulations make for a very complicated policy, which nevertheless is very important for any holiday-maker.

People going on holiday tend to adopt an ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude and, hopefully, it won’t. But nobody is immune to ill-health or robbery, and baggage loss can happen to the best of us. So, for sheer peace of mind, it’s worth looking into travel insurance when booking your trip.

The medical aspect of a travel insurance policy is probably the most important and the most needed. Far more people fall ill abroad than you’d think, and the cost of OTC medication can be extortionate abroad as well as at home. Even contracting a simple stomach bug can cost you dearly. And if you need to be hospitalised in a foreign country, you could find yourself deeply out of pocket – most countries don’t have an equivalent to the NHS.

It’s important to remember that most travel insurance policies won’t cover you for any problems related to pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, especially if you haven’t mentioned these to your insurer when taking out the policy. Like any other type of insurance, omitting details on application can result in claims being refused, so make sure you tell them everything. This also goes for any dependents who are travelling with you; their medical history needs to be disclosed, but if the holiday is cut short because of a pre-existing condition it’s unlikely you’ll be reimbursed. Pregnancy, although technically a pre-existing condition, will normally be covered as long as you will be less than 28 weeks pregnant by the end of your trip (24 weeks for a multiple pregnancy). This restriction can vary between insurers, so always check your policy.

If you lose your possessions on holiday, your insurer will normally only pay out if you had taken reasonable care of them; if you had left them unattended you will be seen as negligent and claims will normally be refused. Likewise, if you leave any valuables unattended in your hotel room, vehicle or mobile home, and they are stolen, you may not be able to claim. If possible, keep your valuables in a room or hotel safe, or keep them on your person.

If your holiday has to be cancelled, there are some situations you will not be covered for. If you cancel simply because you decide not to go, for example because of a relationship break-up, you won’t be refunded. If your holiday is cancelled by the hotel, or if you have an accident or unforeseen emergency at home, most insurers will refund the costs you have paid so far, plus any cancellation fees due. Again, check your policy first to see what is and isn’t covered.

When you look for a travel insurance policy, don’t just go on price alone. Annual travel insurance may work out cheaper, but …

New Horizons-South Bay: Senior Living At Its Best

One of the best-kept secrets in the South Bay is New Horizons-South Bay. This is a lush, peaceful, and sprawling community of proud and caring residents. Many of who have lived here since the complex was completed in the mid 60s. This was the first planned California Condominium Complex, with another New Horizons built near the same time just north of Santa Barbara.

The uniqueness in this community is the large amount of land the community is situated on. Built before land was at such a premium, the delightful one and two story buildings are scattered amongst beautifully landscaped grounds. All reminiscent of the condos in the Palm Springs area. To stroll through this complex on its winding pathways is a treat of its own. One gets the feel of small town, unhurried rural living.

Another unique aspect of this community is it is self managed by elected volunteers. This keeps the monthly fees to a minimum. With the residents guaranteed a caring management team that all have a stake in the well being of the community.

The community is made up of various 2 story condo buildings, 1 story condo ‘bungalows’, a 9 hole golf course, 2 swimming pools, tennis courts and a state of the art club house – all quite nice. The 2 to three bedroom condos are set around the horse shaped, par 3, 9-hole golf course. The golf course is maintained in an excellent manner, and is surrounded with lush trees, palms and tropical plants.

This little oasis of all most resort living is located on Maple Ave, just south of Sepulveda Blvd in the City of Torrance.

In the last few years, many other gated communities have been built in the area, and some offering similar amenities, but none offer the charm and lush grounds that the New Horizons South Bay complex offers to residents.…

Avoid the Airport in the Pacific Northwest – Amtrak Cascades Review

When traveling on vacation do you have to trudge through crowded airports? Depending on where you are coming from and where you are going the answer is a qualified No.

We took a cruise from Los Angeles, California to Vancouver, British Columbia on the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas (Review here) and a one night cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle, Washington on the Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Star and had to get home to Portland, Oregon. Most people just go straight with taking a plane and don’t think about what their alternatives are. Well, In Washington and Oregon along the I-5 corridor one option is Amtrak’s Cascades.

Our choice, travel 45-60 minutes from the cruise terminal to SeaTac then spend 1-2 hours trudging through and around the airport, an hour and a half in the air, then another 30+ minutes waiting for our bags or travel 10 minutes to the Amtrak station, wait 15 minutes for our train, spend 3 and a half hours on the rail, grab our bags and go. When the time going by air is compared to the time going by rail it is almost a coin flip, while the actual travel time is longer by rail the additional time in airports and getting there outweighs the same actions by rail. So we opted to take the train, and we did not regret our choice and from now on when we need to get to Seattle from Portland we will always take the train.

The Amtrak Cascades travels a scenic route through the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon past Mount Saint Helens and over the Columbia Gorge. Amtrak Cascades service is financed and operated in partnership with the states of Oregon and Washington, giving residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest a viable alternative to air travel.

The beauty of the option is where the train station is located in both Seattle and Portland, unlike airports, which are usually located in an out of the way location the train station is right downtown, this is true in almost every location that Amtrak goes to.

Once we debarked from the Norwegian Star we exited from the Seattle Cruise Terminal at Pier 66 and grabbed a taxi right in front. There was an “unofficial” porter working the cabs, a nice young man that appeared to be working just for tips helping people get cabs and their luggage loaded, I don’t know how the cruise lines and taxi drivers view these helpers but he did earn a tip helping us get quickly settled with a cab. The driver took us directly to the train station which was a 10 minute at most drive from the cruise terminal.

We checked our bags with Amtrak baggage handlers and waited for our train, shortly before the train arrived Amtrak personnel assigned us seats and the train arrived on time. When the train arrived everyone headed to their assigned cars in a leisurely pace. We boarded, …

Norwegian Cruise Line Ends Business Relations With Ytb

NCL Terminates Relations With YTB

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has terminated their business relationship with the online travel agency YTB (Your Travel Biz). The two companies have quit doing business together, as of January 20, 2009. It has been reported that Norwegian Cruise Line quit taking any more new bookings from this company full of controversy. Although, NCL will continue to service existing YTB reservations, and pay commissions due on bookings prior to the recent announcement.

Earlier this year Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) also stopped accepting reservations from independent agents affiliated with the travel company Joystar. You may have heard that Joystar is also considering filing Chapter 11. Travel agents, and others have filed a petition for involuntary bankruptcy against Joystar.

It is unclear how a travel company in the business of booking a variety of travel for a client can continue to function without the support of some of the major travel suppliers in the travel industry. Companies that have previously terminated their business with YTB are Royal Caribbean (another huge Cruise Line), Celebrity, Azamara, Perrillo, IATAN, (just to name a few). And now they have to add Norwegian Cruise Line to the list of suppliers refusing YTB service.

YTB is considered to be a “card mill” by many in the travel industry. YTB also faces a lawsuit later this year through the state of California, for accusations of an MLM performing as a pyramid scheme. The origional intent by Attorney General Edmund Brown Jr. was to shut down the company’s unlawful operation before more people were hurt by this scam.

Other aligations have also been made against YTB, and will all be addressed during this September trial. The state of California is seeking $10 million in restitution for the California residents who bought into the business, and another $15 million in cival penalties.

Since the lawsuit was first presented, YTB has reported some changes in their business plan and stratagies. But will it be a case of “too little too late”? We will all be watching the outcome of this case. One has to wonder why it had to come to this in the first place?…

From San Diego To The Redwood Forrest

If you have ever wanted to take a good long scenic drive along the ocean, then the best place to start and end is in California. It has a coastline that is famous all over the world for its beauty and intrigue. There are literally hundreds of places to see and things to do up and down these hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline.

San Diego is close to the Mexican border and you might just want to take a little trip to Tijuana before you head up the coast. If not, you can visit the San Diego zoo or Sea World before your trip even gets started good.

The trip North will land you next in Oceanside and further up, Santa Ana. Next you come to Long Beach and the ever popular Los Angeles. Here you will certainly not find any shortage of fun and interesting things to do and see. From Beverly Hills to Hollywood there are so many star studded things to enjoy.

There is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, shopping, Universal Studios, Disneyland, and so much more. When you stop in Los Angeles, be prepared to stay for a few days if you want to be able to take advantage of all there is to enjoy here. Who knows, you might even get a peek at one of your favorite star while you are there.

Your next stops will probably be Ventura, Santa Barbara, and further along north, Santa Maria. Each and every one of these towns is worth a short visit along the way. You will never know about all the small attractions when you take a road trip like this unless you stop and take a few hours to look around. Discovering out of the way restaurants and attractions that you never knew existed is what makes road trips so much fun.

Big Sur, Monterey, and Santa Cruz are all on your way to the historic and incomparable San Francisco. The San Francisco Bay area is another place where you will want to delay your coastline adventure for at least a day or two. The countryside and city life alike here is something you will want to tour and enjoy at your leisure.

After San Francisco you can travel on up to the top of this huge state to see the famous Redwood Forrest. These spectacular historic trees are also something you will not want to miss. They are one of the great beauties of California. The ride up along the California is one that you are sure to never forget.…

5 Steps to Easy Online Flight Booking

The internet has changed virtually everything.  Air travel is no exception.  It used to be that a good travel agent was the best way to plan and book your flight.  Now, thanks to the World Wide Web, you can make your travel plans from the comfort and convenience of your home computer.  Some people are hesitant to make bookings online because of security issues and their lack of familiarity with the whole process of online booking.  Here are a few things you can do to make your experience as trouble-free as possible.

1. Be flexible.  The majority of air travel done in the United States is for business or professional reasons.  Individuals who are traveling for business reasons tend to be less flexible in their travel dates and arrival/departure times.  However, if you are traveling for pleasure (vacation, holidays, etc…) you might be able to save some money by being flexible in a few key areas.  The first area you should be flexible in is your departing airport.  If you live in an area that only has one local airport you might not have a choice which airport you depart from.  But if you live in a large city there are usually two or three airports within driving distance from your home that you could depart from.  Be sure to check the prices of flights leaving from all airports within your area.  Keep in mind, the biggest airport might not be the cheapest.  Second, be flexible in your dates and times of departure.  Flights are typically cheaper that depart on weekdays as opposed to weekends or Fridays.  Also, overnight flights are in lower demand and are therefore less expensive.

2. Book in advance.  Last minute bookings are always the most expensive.  Airlines charge more money for last minute bookings because they cause more work for the airlines to process in time.  Try to book your flight four to six weeks ahead of time.  Many airlines will allow you to book earlier than that, but some airlines do not publish their flight itineraries until six weeks before the departure date.

3. Have your credit card information ready.  Online bookings are paid for exclusively with credit or debit cards.  Be sure to check and see which cards are accepted with the company you are making your online booking with.  Also, be sure that their site is protected from identity theft by companies such as VeriSign or Travel Guard.

4. Be sure to provide accurate information.  Websites can only process what you put into them.  If you do not provide accurate information for an online booking agency they can not process your purchase.  Be sure that your name, email address, flight information, and credit card information are all filled out accurately.

5. Confirm your purchase.  Many online booking agencies provide a phone number or support email address on their website so that you can confirm that your purchase was made.  Take five minutes to call or email the agency to make sure that …