Pierre Fortin
Partner | CPA, CA | Management consulting

It’s to a municipality’s benefit to mobilize its resources to undertake projects that best meet the needs and expectations of its citizens.

Managing priorities in a municipal context can be complicated. Municipalities are now recognized as the government of proximity with a role that goes beyond managing infrastructure and urban planning to encompass increased economic, social and cultural development and safeguarding and developing natural spaces. Additionally, they must often deal with an increasing number of stakeholders with diverse expectations.

With a wide range of potential activities and limited financial manoeuvrability, elected officials must regularly decide between projects that are equally important but difficult to compare. How can they approach this process?

Strategic directions: the basis for effective management

Strategic directions are the result of a structured, or strategic, four-step planning process:

1. Analyze the internal and external environment

The first step consists in analyzing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses and the external environment’s opportunities and threats. These analyses will reveal uncover the major issues facing the municipality in the coming years.

2. Consult citizens

The elected officials will then have the requisite information to consult citizens about their concerns and vision of the municipality’s future. These consultations must be mobilizing and serve as a catalyst to define a common vision.

3. Adopt a clear vision

The vision adopted by the elected officials and citizens must be a powerful tool to mobilize and direct the organization towards long-term objectives.

4. Define strategic directions

These will be the starting point for determining priorities.

Strategic directions guide the short- and medium-term deployment of actions to address the issues, establish major projects and communicate the municipal council’s priority intentions. They channel municipal action towards activities that will be the municipality’s focus in the next three to five years.

Relying on clear strategic directions is particularly important when considering their positive impact on organizational performance. Because they align the long-term vision with the implementation of strategies and operational plans, they ensure consistency between the municipal council’s wishes and organizational capacity and the various components of the municipality’s activities.

The municipality plays a very pivotal role during the budget process when the municipal council must decide among the various projects presented to it. Strategic directions then serve as a framework for the annual resource allocation decisions.

11 Feb 2019  |  Written by :

Pierre Fortin is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in Management...

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New measures have been implemented for employees following the coming into effect of new labour standards on January 1, 2019.

Employers must therefore update and revise their corporate labour standards policy and notify their employees.

Increased annual vacation time

As of January 1, 2019, employees with three years of service are entitled to three weeks of paid vacation. Previously, only employees with five years of service were entitled to three weeks.

As a result, as of May 2019, all employees with three years of service will be entitled to vacation equivalent to 6% and employees’ vacation entitlement must be adjusted accordingly.

Paid days of absence for sickness, to care for a relative and death

Effective January 1, 2019, employees who have three months of uninterrupted service are entitled to a maximum of two paid days of absence in the same year, due to sickness, an accident, domestic violence or sexual violence.

This also applies for time off to care for a relative or a person for whom the employee acts as a caregiver. Note that it is a total of two days.

Employees are entitled to five days of absence for the death of a relative, including two days of paid time off.

Psychological and sexual harassment

One significant change in the new labour standards is the requirement for employers to adopt a clear policy on psychological and sexual harassment prevention.

Clearly, these new standards will require a revision of human resource management tools, such as the overall compensation policy and the employees’ manual.

As an employer, it is your duty to inform your employees about the work-related rights and obligations to be complied with.

Our consultants and experts can support you in the process to develop a clear, up-to-date policy that meets the new labour standards requirements or train your managers so they can communicate appropriate information to employees.

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Hiring foreign workers is one option to help remedy the qualified labour shortage.

During the international recruiting process, employers are concerned about several issues such as legal proceedings, welcome and social integration, but often forget the tax aspect, which can be a source of stress for immigrant workers.

Foreign workers and taxation in Canada and Quebec

It would be a mistake to think that once an employee is in service, there’s nothing more to do. There’s still work with regard to renewing the work permit and starting the process for employee to get their permanent resident status. Above all, it’s important to ensure that foreign workers comply with Canadian and Quebec tax requirements.

Who will notify employees of their tax obligations? Who will help them file their income tax returns? Employers are in the best position to inform newly arrived workers of their tax compliance obligations; when employers fail to do so, immigrant workers may not file their income tax returns on time and sometimes find themselves in trouble or lose out on tax benefits.

Tax obligations and tax credits

Many issues need to be assessed before filing foreign workers’ income tax returns.

  • Is there a tax holiday for this type of worker?
  • Will they be entitled to all of their tax credits?
  • Are they considered a tax resident of Canada or a non-resident?
  • Is there a tax treaty with their country of origin?

Only the aspects specific to the foreign workers situation will determine their tax obligations.

In light of the labour shortage, retaining foreign workers is key. Businesses won’t have any choice but to keep finding innovative retaining strategies for their specialized foreign workforce.

To make integration easier for foreign workers, it is essential for employers to guide them in adapting to their new social environment, but also in understanding our tax system, which can be complex.

Personalized training to your foreign workers

Our team of cross-border tax experts can guide you through this process by providing integrated consultation and tax compliance services for these foreign workers.

We can provide personalized help based on the needs and situations of each foreign worker. Contact our team to meet with our specialists.

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Christian Menier
Partner | CPA, CA, M. Fisc. | Tax

There is a wide range of tax benefits available to individuals, such as tax credits, tax deductions and employers’ non-taxable benefits.

Here are a few that will help you keep a bit more money in your pockets this year.

Renovation work

Did you have ecofriendly renovations undertaken or have major work on your septic system carried out for your residence or winterized cottage? Did you have repair work done on your secondary residence because of the flooding in certain regions in Quebec between April 5 and May 16, 2017? If so, and you paid the invoices before the end of the year, you can claim one of the following credits on your 2018 tax return:

  • RénoVert credit (20% of eligible expenses in excess of $2,500, for a maximum credit of $10,000);
  • The tax credit for upgrading of residential waste water treatment systems (20% of eligible expenses in excess of $2,500, for a maximum credit of $5,500 per qualifying residence);
  • The tax credit for the restoration of secondary residences (30% of eligible expenses, for a maximum credit of $15,000).

For the first two credits, you will need a signed certificate from your contractor and for the third, you have to have a report by an expert in damage assessment.

Gift from your employer

Did you receive a non-monetary Christmas gift from your employer valued at $500 or less? For Quebec purposes, you don’t need to declare a bonus or gift of less than $1,000 per year. For federal purposes, the limit is $500. So, go ahead, let yourself be spoiled.

Generally, goods or services provided or paid by your employer are taxable. There are some exceptions, for example, tuition fees. If you take courses at your employer’s request and the related tuition is paid by your employer, you will not have a taxable benefit.

Capital losses

If you realized capital gains in 2018 and in the past three years and triggered capital losses before the end of the year, you could reduce your tax liability by applying the losses against previous gains.

Donations

Donations to registered charities give entitlement to tax credits. The combined federal and Quebec tax credit rates are 35% of the first $200 in donations and 53% of the excess. Since the deduction is calculated per individual, it’s to a couple’s benefit to combine them under one tax return.

This article was published on December 31, 2018 in the Journal de Montréal and Journal de Québec (in French). Christian Menier is the new columnist for the Argent – Dans vos poches column.

 

09 Jan 2019  |  Written by :

Christian Menier is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in taxation for...

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