Old becomes New

After a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, as we dropped one of my daughters off at school, my son saw one of my daughter’s university buddies playing Guitar Hero on a PS/2 (evidently at University, the kids “rough it” by using 1 generation back technology), and my son was enthralled by the site of this game. His hand eye co-ordination was such that he couldn’t get the hang of the guitar, however, he remembered that we had a PS/2 in our basement, collecting dust, and I was ordered to set it up for him (well, it sounded like an order, I think he said please).

Good Fun

Previously Enjoyed Toys

Setting up the game was easier than I remember, as the TV we use for my son had a spare AVI port (you know that old Red White and Yellow cable we used to use on tube tvs?) and for the rest of the day my son was enjoying Simpson’s Road Rage (although he likes to play Air Guitar Hero (you walk around with the “guitar” acting like you are playing the game).

This all got me thinking that with my son, and how he has had many regifted toys over his life (he has  Teletubbies, Tickle Me Elmo and a Tutter from his sisters and many other older toys) and seems no worse for wear for me not spending many dollars on toys. I remember the amount of pain my wife went through to get those toys new (the Tickle Me Elmo craze was a scary time), and I am happy that they can actually be enjoyed again.

You do realize that Christmas is coming in a while, are you going to buy your kids or grandkids a bunch of toys, that may end up locked in a closet one day? What if you put some money in an RESP for them, or in trust for when they get older? Does old money get locked in a closet ?



Good Job Picture for September in Canada

Friday before the Long Weekend our friends at Stats Canada published some relatively good news for the Canadian Economy, with 74000 more folks employed in September (2014). Coincidently the unemployment rate dropped 2/10 of a percent as well, so all in all a rosier picture, with unemployment the lowest it has been since December 2008 (nearly the beginning of the economic collapse).


Chart 1 Employment for past while

The graph seems to look more optimistic. The areas where employment increased the most was youths aged 15 to 24 and women aged 25 to 54. The more youth employment is a very good thing for the economy, as this is the area where employment has lagged badly since the great collapse.

The sectors where there were increases in employment were in accommodation and food services; health care and social assistance; construction; natural resources; also in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing. There was some bad employment news was  numbers were down in educational services.

For me, a really good piece of news is that the number of private sector employees increased in September, which means the economy is creating jobs (not just the government).

Adjusted to the concepts used in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.9% in September, the same as the US rate.

Good to see we are keeping up with our American cousins in terms of job creation.


Unemployment Graph for the Past Little While

The Big Table

As usual I include some data from the Big Data tables from Stats Canada so you can see the data yourself and make your own conclusions:

Employment by class of worker and industry (based on NAICS1) – Seasonally adjusted

August 2014 September 2014 Std error2 August to
Sept 2014
Sept 2013
to Sept 2014
August to Sept
Sept 2013
to Sept 2014
thousands change in thousands % change
Class of worker
Employees 15,096.8 15,226.4 35.6 129.6 150.2 0.9 1.0
Self-employed 2,754.7 2,699.1 25.9 -55.6 0.2 -2.0 0.0
Public/private sector employees
Public 3,676.0 3,682.0 25.0 6.0 88.1 0.2 2.5
Private 11,420.8 11,544.4 38.2 123.6 62.0 1.1 0.5
All industries 17,851.4 17,925.5 28.5 74.1 150.4 0.4 0.8
Goods-producing sector 3,835.9 3,896.1 26.0 60.2 -12.8 1.6 -0.3
Agriculture 298.4 295.2 7.8 -3.2 -19.3 -1.1 -6.1
Natural resources3 352.2 379.9 7.9 27.7 -1.1 7.9 -0.3
Utilities 150.2 148.9 5.3 -1.3 -2.9 -0.9 -1.9
Construction 1,322.7 1,352.6 17.6 29.9 13.3 2.3 1.0
Manufacturing 1,712.4 1,719.5 18.9 7.1 -2.9 0.4 -0.2
Services-producing sector 14,015.6 14,029.4 34.4 13.8 163.2 0.1 1.2
Trade 2,713.3 2,700.4 24.3 -12.9 -20.9 -0.5 -0.8
Transportation and warehousing 887.4 878.6 14.6 -8.8 18.9 -1.0 2.2
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing 1,087.7 1,108.6 16.7 20.9 -31.1 1.9 -2.7
Professional, scientific and technical services 1,391.2 1,376.2 18.7 -15.0 25.8 -1.1 1.9
Business, building and other support services 693.6 694.7 14.2 1.1 -33.5 0.2 -4.6
Educational services 1,331.1 1,286.9 16.2 -44.2 10.6 -3.3 0.8
Health care and social assistance 2,216.8 2,248.5 19.4 31.7 69.3 1.4 3.2
Information, culture and recreation 796.6 788.9 14.8 -7.7 -0.8 -1.0 -0.1
Accommodation and food services 1,149.3 1,196.9 17.1 47.6 64.2 4.1 5.7
Other services 770.3 775.6 13.5 5.3 -0.1 0.7 0.0
Public administration 978.5 974.2 12.4 -4.3 60.9 -0.4 6.7
1.North American Industry Classification System.
2.Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling variability of estimates” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.
3.Also referred to as forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas.
Related CANSIM tables 282-0088 and 282-0089. The sum of individual categories may not always add up to the total as a result of rounding.



Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Hopefully you are enjoying this long weekend, and are enjoying the Feast of the Harvest.

For those wonder about how we celebrate it in the Big Caj family, this picture sums it up nicely:


New Age Thanksgiving

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! This is how my son described Thanksgiving to his sister, and she drew it for him, you can’t tell me the mind of a child in the Autism Spectrum isn’t wonderfully different.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Hockey before turkey? What the heck is going on around here? The Hockey Season has already started, the games are on Rogers, and it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet? This is a very confusing time for a simple Big Cajun Man like me. What sport to watch? CFL or NFL Football? Baseball Playoffs? Hockey ? Lacrosse ? UFC? WWE? Accountant Death Cell Matches ? Nude Actuarial Hopscotch? Lawn Bowling ? Urban Tidily Winks ? So many choices.

Lovely Leaves

Lovely Leaves on Highway 7

Thanksgiving weekend, a time for all of us to celebrate the bountiful harvest, and our families, and slaughter as many turkeys as possible.

The leaves are changing colours (the Leafs are still blue, happily for the Blunt Bean Counter), and we get to enjoy Mother Natures own fireworks display of amazing colours this weekend as well.

Luckily Air Canada can put a damper on all of this, by imposing a tariff on carry on luggage, thus causing people to be even weirder while traveling. Wait until you are sitting next to a family traveling, where each of them are wearing 4 change of clothing (one on top of the other) on the plane, that is going to make for a very fun time. I even have a new name for this new Canadian cultural anomaly, layer packing™ (you heard it here first).

Canadian Blood Services, really needs donors, if you haven’t given lately, time to drop by, the blood supply is dangerously low!


My Writings for Week Ending October 10th

Turkeys have died by the hundreds of thousands for you to enjoy a lovely turkey dinner, some would view this carnage as barbaric, I have no such qualms with this aviary genocide.

Scotia Bank Value Visa

[click to continue…]


Splitting Income For Single Income Families

One of the earliest articles that I had on-line (back in 2005) was that the Canadian Government Hates Single Income Families, and I still feel that the Government really isn’t trying to help out single income families. The set of articles was a bit inflammatory (as I was want to do in those days), but the point about Income Splitting still is an interesting discussion point.

My guess is that the Government does not want to change the tax system to allow Income Splitting, for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is they don’t want to cut one of their income streams down  (this is not me putting on my Aluminum Foil hat and claiming this is a government conspiracy, just that it is only good business sense to not decrease your incomes, especially when you carry as much debt as all levels of government currently do).

I have written about the joys of income splitting for the retired folks out there (who have pension income), but a family with a single bread-winner (who isn’t retired), is not extended that same privilege. Typically a single income families’ major tax breaks are (assuming there is a spouse or common-law partner involved):

  • Schedule 5: Line 303 where you can claim up to $11038 (minus whatever your spouse’s net income comes out to)
  • Family Care Giver credit, if you are taking care of a disabled family member

That is pretty much it. With lower incomes you may be able to claim medical expenses and such, but that is about it.

The concept of a Household Income, that can pool two folks’ income into one and then split in half (for tax purposes) sounds fair to begin with, but evidently the CRA and the Government are not in agreement on that. Think about:

  1. Lisa is a designer and earns $80,000 a year, while her spouse stays at home with the kids
  2. Gunther earns $45K at his job and his spouse earns $35K at her (or his) job, and they have their kids in daycare
Inequal Tax Solutions

Only in the Tax World is this statement True

At first blush you’d think that these two families pay the same taxes, wouldn’t you? However, we know that this is not how the tax system currently works, and that in fact, Gunther and his spouse have a higher net income because they both earn in a lower tax bracket, whereas Lisa is taxed in the higher bracket for that part of her income (remembering that the tax brackets have graduated income levels).

Is this right? My opinion is no, but then again, Mrs. C8j and I lived in a scenario where she stayed at home with the kids, and I worked, so naturally I would be more inclined to think a Household Income or Income Splitting would make more sense.

I am curious to hear what my readers think of how the Canadian Tax system treats dual-income families as compared with single-income families.