Culture is a strong asset when used as a social and economic development tool. This inspiring topic has been widely documented. The many papers resulting from cultural policies or Agenda 21 for culture are particularly very explicit in this regard.

Nevertheless, our long practice as consultants lead us to broaden this thought process and present you with another perspective on territory attractiveness in relation to culture, leisure and sports.

We propose five measures for you to consider and define what actions to take to enhance your territory’s attractiveness.

These points rely on three findings:

  1. Today’s citizens are many, complex, ever-changing and constantly moving: demographic changes, fragmented lifestyles, new cultural communities, etc.
  2. Territory attractiveness is a team sport! No sector (sport, culture, urban planning, economic development, etc.), investment strategy, or asset (land, transportation infrastructures, etc.) can boast being able to increase a territory’s attractiveness all on its own.
  3. Municipal organizations, through their regulatory framework, are generally rather rigid organizations. What’s more, several factors lead them to develop in isolation, even when collaboration is implicitly encouraged.

With these premises in mind, we present, for your consideration, five measures to make your territory more attractive and retain your citizens and businesses.

These five measures are as follows:

1. Understanding the present and outlining the future

Today more than ever, our lifestyles are constantly changing: the profile, composition and lifestyle of our populations are in ferment. At the same time, never has there been as much information and so many tools available for obtaining a fair, real-time understanding of our populations’ needs, satisfactions and expectations. Municipal managers must keep a veritable scoreboard to properly monitor, or even get more ahead of, the parade!

2. Acting together

Having a wealth of information, regardless of how relevant, does not always guarantee success. There is a strong risk of getting overwhelmed and the challenge of translating this information into action is vital. There are three key factors to consider: Have a clear vision and positioning that are shared with the parties involved, have a well-scripted scenario (strategic planning) and, lastly, know how to integrate innovation into the processes and strategies.

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3. Mobilizing all players

The key to successful territorial attractiveness strategies rests on the engagement of the parties involved (organizations, institutions, citizens, businesses, etc.) and their being in line with the vision. There are many interesting ways to increase engagement in the municipal arena. We’ve noted the growing desire to implement these new approaches. Nevertheless, we will have to make sure that there’s substance behind the glossy packaging with regard to these new citizen approaches. Furthermore, a fair amount of energy will be needed to engage the silent majorities (citizens or businesses).

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4. Reinventing public spaces

One of the most important measures concerns equipment and infrastructures, because they are at the heart of our communities’ vitality. We believe there is a need to reinvent how we plan and design public, or even private, spaces and infrastructures. Given the significant amounts invested in this regard, we must ensure that added value is created for each investment. The vitality and dynamism of each community will strongly depend on how decision-makers interpret this measure. A large number of successes, but also failures, will have to be studied so that we can find the best.

5. Making the territory come alive

In our practice, we find that, historically, municipal managers (in leisure and culture) have had an approach that is limited to managing infrastructures (arenas, libraries, sports fields, etc.) and programs (day camps, cultural activities, etc.). Our observations lead us to design a new approach, one where they become true “territory facilitators” rather than equipment and program managers, and change our way of doing things. This shift is happening here and there, but it’s still only in the beginning phase.

In conclusion, we invite municipal players to ask themselves: “Are we well positioned for each of these measures?” If so, there is a good chance that your territory will come out on top in terms of attractiveness and retaining your various clients. However, if the answer is no, in order to move in the right direction, you will have to implement specific actions for each of these measures.

This article appeared in Le Sablier, published by the Association des directeurs généraux des municipalités du Québec.

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Annik Doiron
Senior Manager | LL.B., M. Fisc. | Tax

Did you know that an individual inheriting a building could have to pay GST and QST upon receiving the inherited property?

In fact, the transmission of estate property to heirs constitutes a sale and as a result, can be subject to the Goods and Services Sales Tax (GST) and the Québec Sales Tax (QST). Therefore, when transmitting a commercial building, the estate (i.e. the seller) will have to collect and remit GST and QST.

There are exceptions

There are however situations where the estate does not have to collect sales tax. For example, when the heir (or acquirer) is registered for GST and QST, the estate is not required to collect taxes that are otherwise applicable.

Before transmitting estate property, make sure you properly understand your obligations and comply with commodity tax rules.

The Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s tax advisors can guide you in this type of tax planning. Contact our professionals for assistance with this process.

15 May 2018  |  Written by :

Annik Doiron is a canadian tax expert at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact her today!

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Nancy Doucet
Manager | CRHA | Management consulting

The likely enactment of Bill C-45 on the legalization of cannabis will definitely impact human resource management.

There are numerous concerns:

  • Will productivity and absenteeism be impacted?
  • How can the legal framework be respected?
  • What recourses will be available to measure consumption?

These are important matters to consider and they confirm that Canadian businesses will need to adapt.

Managers’ concerns

A survey by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés reveals that some three-quarters of its members are concerned by the legalization of cannabis. Close to 40% of them also believe that drug use in the workplace is already a problem.

Managers need to start looking at how they will manage the impact of legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. They will need to strike a balance between the right to privacy and the obligation to provide a safe work environment for all. They need to manage this challenge proactively and be prepared when the time comes.

Screening, personal rights and disciplinary measures

When it comes to health and accident prevention, all employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety, physical and psychological well-being of their employees.
They have a management right that allows them to implement a policy prohibiting the possession or consumption of drugs and/or alcohol in the workplace.

In order to justify the imposition of sanctions, they need to have a clear, unequivocal policy that employees are aware of and that will be strictly applied.

Consumption and addiction

The courts have recognized that drug addiction is a disabling dependency. Accordingly, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, an employer is obliged to accommodate an employee with an addiction, provided it does not result in undue hardship.

What does this mean? An employer cannot dismiss an employee with an addiction, i.e., an employee who is handicapped by an addiction to drugs or alcohol on the sole grounds that the employee is not able to perform the work effectively.

When is a policy required?

There are many factors supporting the importance of instituting a policy on the use of any substance that could impair a person’s faculties. For example, it could be a “zero tolerance” policy, with severe penalties, including dismissal, for anyone who breaks the rules.

How the new policy is implemented internally will be the key to its success. All of the employees must be aware of the new policy. It is recommended that a number of employees be an integral part of the process to ensure that the information is disseminated more quickly.

Talk to one of our experts to find out more about your rights and obligations and set a clear internal policy on drug and alcohol consumption.

14 May 2018  |  Written by :

Nancy Doucet is expert in management consulting at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact her today!

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Annik Doiron
Senior Manager | LL.B., M. Fisc. | Tax

Did you know that you could be entitled to a partial GST and QST refund if you have substantial renovations done to your dwelling?

Renovations are considered substantial when all or substantially all (90% or more) of the existing building is removed or replaced, except for the foundations, outside walls, inside supporting walls, floors, roof and stairs.

Refund eligibility conditions

Your dwelling is eligible for a partial refund when all of the following conditions apply:

  • The housing is a single-unit residential complex (including a duplex) or a residential unit held in co-ownership.
  • You or one of your relations was the first to occupy the premises after the renovations had begun.
  • The housing is being renovated to serve as your or a relation’s primary place of residence.
  • For the GST rebate, when the renovation was substantially (90% or more) completed, the fair market value of the property was $450,000 or less.
  • For the QST rebate, when the renovation was substantially (90% or more) completed, the fair market value of the property was $300,000 or less.

Application deadline

The refund application must be submitted no later than two years after the first of the following:

  • The date on which the renovations were substantially (90% or more) completed;

OR

  • Two years after the date on which you or one of your relations began using the premises as a primary place of residence after the renovations had begun

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s tax advisors can guide you in filing and maximizing your claim. Contact our professionals for assistance with this process.

10 May 2018  |  Written by :

Annik Doiron is a canadian tax expert at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact her today!

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