Budget 2015 Highlights

On April 21, 2015, Finance Minister Joe Oliver tabled his first federal budget.  The provisions of the budget will be of particular interest to owners of small and medium sized businesses, seniors and families with children.  As well, those looking to make certain charitable donations will be encouraged by Oliver’s budget.

Below is a brief commentary on each of the key budget proposals.

For Seniors and Savers

Increase in Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Limit

Effective immediately, you can deposit more into your TFSA as shown below:

  Prior to Budget 2015
Budget Changes
Maximum contribution $5,500 $10,000
Future limits indexed Yes No

Reduction in RRIF Minimum Withdrawals

Under the new guidelines proposed by the April Budget, individuals turning age 71 will see the required minimum withdrawals lowered according to the following table:

Age Existing New
  Factor (%) Factor (%)
71 7.38 5.28
72 7.48 5.40
73 7.59 5.53
74 7.71 5.67
75 7.85 5.82
76 7.99 5.98
77 8.15 6.17
78 8.33 6.36
79 8.53 6.58
80 8.75 6.82
81 8.99 7.08
82 9.27 7.38
83 9.58 7.71
84 9.93 8.08
85 10.33 8.51
86 10.79 8.99
87 11.33 9.55
88 11.96 10.21
89 12.71 10.99
90 13.62 11.92
91 14.73 13.06
92 16.12 14.49
93 17.92 16.34
94 20.00 18.79
95 & over 20.00 20.00

As a result of these changes, individuals taking the minimum required withdrawal at 71 and beyond will see greater capital preservation in their RRIF.  This is illustrated in the following table:

Capital Preserved Under New RRIF Factors

Age 71 Capital Preserved ($)

Age Existing RRIF Factors New RRIF Factors Difference

% more remaining

71 $100,000 $100,000
80 64,000 77,000 20
85 47,000 62,000 32
90 30,000 44,000 47
95 15,000 24,000 60
100 6,000 24,000 67


  1. For an individual 71 years of age at the start of 2015 with $100,000 in RRIF capital making the required minimum RRIF withdrawal each year.
  2. Age 71 capital preserved at older ages is expressed in terms of the real (or constant) dollar value of the capital (i.e. the value of the capital adjusted for inflation after age 71). The calculations assume a 5% nominal rate of return on RRIF assets and 2% inflation.

Source – Conference of Advanced Life Underwriters (CALU) Special Report, April 2015.

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

  • Once implemented, will provide up to $1,500 in tax relief for qualifying individuals (mainly seniors and disabled persons) making accessibility and safety related home improvements to their principal residence.

For Business Owners

Small Business Tax Rate

Proposed changes to the Small Business Tax Rate for Canadian Controlled Private Corporations will reduce the income tax rate for the first $500,000 of qualifying active business income as follows:

Effective Tax Rate
Pre-Budget 11.0%
As of January 1, 2016 10.5%
As of January1, 2017 10.0%
As of January 1, 2018 9.5%
As of January 1, 2019 9.0 %

Dividend Tax Credit for Non-eligible Dividends

Under Budget 2015, proposals call for a change in the gross up and dividend tax credit rate in conjunction with the proposed reduction in the small business rate as follows;

Effective Gross up Factor for Non-eligible dividends Effective rate of Dividend Tax Credit
Pre-Budget 18% 11.017%
January 1, 2016 17% 10.50%
January 1, 2017 17% 10.00%
January 1, 2018 16% 9.5%
January 1, 2019 15% 9.00%

Increase in Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption for Qualified Farming or Fishing Property

  • The Budget proposes that on or after April 21, 2015, the LCGE for capital gains realized on qualified farm or fish property is increased to $1,000,000 (currently $813,000).

For Families

Included in the Budget but previously announced:

  • The Family Tax Cut will allow couples with children under the age of 18 to split their incomes for a tax credit of up to $2,000;
  • The Universal Child Care Benefit proposal increases the benefit to $160 per month (currently $100 per month) for children under the age of six and provides a new benefit of $60 per month for children ages 6 to 17:
  • The children’s fitness tax credit has been doubled from $500 to $1,000.

Other Proposed Measures

Donations involving Private Shares or Real Estate

In the past, CRA has had concerns with donations involving private company shares and property being valued appropriately.

  • Budget 2015 proposes to exempt individual and corporate donors from tax on the sale of private shares or real estate to an arm’s length party, provided the cash proceeds are donated to a registered charity within 30 days.
  • If implemented, this will take effect in 2016.

Simplification of Form T1135 Reporting

This form which deals with the reporting of foreign property has proven to be extremely onerous for the individuals, corporations and trusts who are obligated to file it.

  • For taxation years that begin after 2014 the form will be significantly simplified.

Registered Disability Savings Plan

In 2012, the government had announced that for those individuals who did not have the capacity to enter into such arrangements, a qualifying family member could temporarily become a planholder.

  • Budget 2015 extends the temporary period from December 31, 2016 until December 31, 2018.

New Anti-Avoidance Rules – Tax Avoidance of Corporate Capital Gains

  • Budget 2015 contains proposed amendments to Section 55 of the Act, which exists to prevent conversion of corporate capital gains to tax-free intercorporate dividends.
  • These new amendments will be applicable to dividends paid after April 20, 2015.

Budget 2015 is a document consisting of over 500 pages, so there are many more elements than what is discussed here.  The budget proposals included here are the main ones that may have the most impact on your planning.

If you require assistance in determining if your personal or corporate planning will be affected, please call me and I will be happy to assist.

Also, please feel free to use the sharing buttons to forward this article to anyone you feel would benefit.


Sources cited in this article:

  • CPA Canada Federal Budget Commentary – 2015
  • CALU Special Report – April 2015
  • Canada Revenue Agency – Website News
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Insuring seniors is costly!!


It’s a well understood truth that the best deal on life insurance can be had when the client is young and in relatively good health. But just because the premiums on seniors are much higher, the need for insurance in your golden years may still be a good deal.

There’s no shortage of worst case scenarios, ranging from larger-than-expected tax liabilities to the failure of a pension plan.

Adapted from an article written by Al Emid that appeared in ADVISOR.CA on March 14, 2011. This discussion has been modified and amended to address a public audience.

Even good news can conspire against the client: with longer life expectancies and earlier retirements, there is a higher likelihood that medical and living expenses will consume retirement assets.

At the same time, it has become more common – even socially acceptable – to carry debt into retirement. A Harris-Decima poll last August for CIBC found that only 35% of Canadians in the 55 to 64 year age group are debt-free and that 8% of respondents believe they will be in their 70’s before clearing their debts. Another 10% have no hope of ever becoming debt free.box1

In today’s environment – not like our parents‘ environment – there are a lot of people retiring with a mortgage or perhaps a long line of credit or they’ve signed for their kids to get their houses. There are a lot of reasons for seniors to be worried. They don’t have a debt free environment anymore.

Another common problem is that estates of baby boomers may face unexpectedly high tax bills. In the stereotypical scenario, parents bequeath the family cottage to their children, along with a massive capital gain, thanks to soaring vacation property values.

Some aim to shield beneficiaries from their debt. They want to make sure that debt is paid off when they pass away.

Carrying debt to the grave and unexpected tax bills illustrate the importance of term and permanent insurance in a senior’s protection portfolio.

Not all insurers provide coverage at the top of the age brackets, however. This can affect the availability of insurers with whom to write contracts.

Tracking differences can be a challenge, as well, since there are over 2,400 life insurance products and variations available in the Canadian market.

In the term insurance category, some insurers will not underwrite policies after the individual turns 65. Many will, however, renew term coverage up to 85 years of age when the policy ends, and a rare few will renew term coverage up to age 100.

Renewal costs on a term policy average four times the original premium – for those with additional risk factors, like tobacco use, that can rise to six times the original premium.

If the insured individual has remained in good health, a broker may be able to get an entirely new policy for a client at a lower cost than the renewal cost.

Applicants that are still in good health can look at applying for a new term 10 (T10) with medical evidence, rather than just letting the (existing) policy renew on its own, but this process should be concluded before the old policy lapses.

Changing policies, however, means exposure to a new two-year term of incontestability and the suicide exclusion.

In the permanent insurance category, underwriting age limits vary between companies and product lines.

The number of companies providing term 100 (T100) coverage has decreased in recent years and some companies that currently offer it are expected to drop it from their line-up, since underlying costs have proven higher than originally calculated.

To a senior who is already concerned about his/her debt purchasing life insurance coverage might be a difficult concept to come to terms with, but when the effect that debt and taxes can have on an estate is considered it can be a welcome strategy to consider.

People should also be reminded that survivor benefits on some pension plans provide only 60% of the original payment to the surviving spouse after the plan-holder deceases.

Given that the end beneficiaries of the life insurance policy are often the senior insured’s adult children, it might make sense for them (the children) to purchase the policy on the lives of their parents, to shield their inheritances on their parents’ deaths. In this fashion the children would own the policy. They would have the ability to use it to pay the taxes or keep the cottage.



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A personal story . . .

Ten years ago, at the age of 75, D.B’s. mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has since lost her ability to speak. For the past seven years she has lived in a chronic long-term care facility in Toronto. She is in a semi-private room and has a special attendant who visits her daily to help her dress and eat. When D.B. and his wife go out of town they arrange for additional medical professionals to be on call in case she has to be taken to the hospital. This care and attention provides his mother-in-law with the dignity she deserves and us with peace of mind.

This care costs D.B’s. mother-in-law $50,000 a year. She and D.B’s. late father-in-law did save for their old age—but they didn’t invest in long-term care insurance (LTC) simply because it was not available and even if it were, she would not have qualified.

Because people in long-term care facilities live longer, they face a higher chance of outliving their money. Even if D.B’s. mother-in-law’s savings do run out, D.B’s. family will continue to provide financially so that she will always receive the same level of care. But not all families are in the financial position to cover such costs. That is where LTC comes in. LTC provides an option to those who do not have savings and the financial ability to provide care at a level that is appropriate. The government funds basic long-term care but LTC allows people to upgrade their service beyond the government minimum levels.

All for LTC and LTC for all
The fact is people are living longer. Whether at home or in an institution, many of us will someday need help with the ordinary, daily tasks for an extended period of time. The bigger point, though, is LTC is not just an issue for the old and frail. Head injuries, strokes, paralysis from accidents and spinal injuries can occur at any age and no one is immune.

People are not rushing to buy LTC, however, because they are understandably in denial. They feel they are too young, too old, too healthy or too unhealthy to need LTC. They believe the government will provide adequate funding. They do not understand what is at stake. LTC should be considered by anyone who wants to protect his or her assets, avoid relying on government-funded facilities or choose their preferred form of healthcare assistance.

LTC is a tough sell in the financial planning business. It is both an expensive product and a disturbing topic. It is, in fact, a product that is still purchased infrequently. Ask yourself, though, if you know of a relative or friend living in a care facility or receiving care at home – and you probably do.

We recommend people consider the cost for long-term care, because it varies widely. People can easily face monthly costs ranging from $3,000 to $7,000, just for facility charges. Costs can double if a parent or spouse still lives at home while his or her spouse is in a facility.

Throughout her life, B.D’s. mother-in-law supported and tended to her family. Now in her time of need, B.D. and his wife will spare no expense to ensure she has excellent care and dignity. Long-term care insurance is not available, simply because we may wish it. We have to qualify to have contracts issued. It should be considered as an integral feature of our comprehensive planning.

A research story . . .wheelchair
(May 31, 2005) Changing demographics will have a long-term effect on societal practices, experts say, and must be properly understood.
Demographics are “…one of the more important aspects of retirement planning,” argued Carl Haub, senior demographer at the Washington, D.C.-based Population Research Bureau during a recent National Press Foundation meeting, also held in Washington.
Haub defined demographics as the study of a population’s age structure, especially the relationship between age groups and their growth or shrinkage. A constant structure of young, middle-aged and senior citizens ensures that needs remain constant as long as the number of individuals also remains unchanged.
In a retirement planning context, constant structure means that the proportion of income-earning individuals “paying into the system” relative to youths and seniors remains steady and predictable. A bulge in the age structure produces increased tax money coming into government coffers — with an accompanying increase in services demanded while a contraction causes a decrease in incoming funds.
Currently, the most important demographic issue centers, perhaps not surprisingly, around baby boomers. “Every trend you can imagine is ascribed to the baby boom,” Haub said, defining it as a post-depression boom instead of the more frequent characterization as a post Second World War boom.
Haub believes the boomer trend peaked in the early 1960s. The fertility rate declined in the next decade, with many couples concluding that two incomes were necessary, he said. The American fertility rate fell to 1.7 children per couple but then stabilized at two by 1990, meaning that population stays constant except for the effects of immigration and longer life expectancies. The Canadian rate is estimated at around 1.5.
That equation, when combined with other projections, leads to the bureau’s estimate of an older and expanding Canadian population in the future, bringing with it many implications.
As the population ages, we will increasingly face problems that accompany advancing years, suggests Nathalie Tremblay, health products manager at Desjardins Financial Security. For example, a recent Desjardins-sponsored study undertaken by Toronto-based Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care indicates that one in three individuals over 85 years of age suffers from dementia.
Increasing life expectancy and the prospect of dementia and other infirmities will become problematic given the shrinking family support systems triggered by the declining birth rate, she says. “Who will take care of them (when) you have 1.5 children per woman?”
That equation provides a compelling case for long-term care insurance. A long-term care insurance policy provides benefits for services needed when the insured individual is diagnosed with a debilitating illness or injury and can’t perform at least two activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing or dressing.
Eligible services can include health aid fees, home management, home-based hospice/palliative care, services of a nurse and nursing-home care.


Addendum . . .
Long-term care insurance contracts can be designed to make “return of premium” benefits available, and, in this fashion, be structured to comprise an integral element in a person’s investment portfolio.

This report is abridged and modified from a variety of original discussions published in the “ADVISORGROUP” series of publications, read by the associates at FB FINANCIAL & Associates.

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Types of Life Insurance

Basically, there are three types of life insurance contracts that you need to know about:
Term, Permanent (often referrred to as “whole life” insurance), and Universal Life insurance.


Term life insurance

Term life insurance is the most traditional and best-known form of personal coverage, paying out to the policyholder’s dependents in the case of death. The main advantage of this insurance is that it is lower priced initially than other types of insurance, but it offers few other benefits.

This type of coverage typically operates for a fixed term of 10 to 30 years, depending upon the policy, and pays out the benefit amount if the policyholder dies.

Permanent (or “Whole Life”) Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance offers coverage for a lifetime, with a guaranteed payout upon death.

You choose the death benefit that will be paid upon death. You make payments in to the policy fund. Any amount you pay into the fund in excess of the cost of insurance (the premium) provided by the life insurance contract is invested and builds a cash sum over time. This cash investment enables the value of the death benefit to increase, or allows loans to be taken against the policy, with many people seeing this as a viable income stream for their retirement plans.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance offers an extremely flexible middle way, combining life cover with the chance to build up an investment income, at a lower cost than fixed permanent life cover.

This type of cover can be very flexible and allows payments to be varied, depending upon the current financial circumstances of the policyholder. Money paid over and above the normal premium can be used to either increase the cash value or increase the death benefit.


The three types of policies: TERM, UNIVERSAL, and PERMANENT (or “Whole Life”) insurance offer different benefits depending upon the needs of the policyholder.

The most affordable option, a simple Term policy, offers temporary coverage, but no other investment potential, and is usually a prerequisite when taking out a mortgage or a large loan.

Permanent (or “Whole Life”) and Universal Life insurance contracts are more flexible, offering tax-free investment potential alongside the lifetime coverage, allowing money to be invested into the death benefits or the investment account.

It is always important to seek independent financial advice before committing to any major financial decision and to be aware of all the long term investment opportunities available.

One of the easiest ways for you to make an informed decision before you buy life insurance is to sit down with a Financial Advisor to evaluate your situation. A Financial Advisor can help you determine the type of insurance coverage that is best for your unique situation.

Question or concern about Life Insurance?

Call Firth Bateman: (604) 591-1336
Life Insurance
Delta, BC

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Long Term Care Insurance

“For a couple turning 65, there is a 70% chance that one of them will need long-term care.” – Wall Street Journal “60% of people over 75 need long term care. The average facility stay for older folks is about 3 years.” – Business Week “Over 50% of all people entering a care situation are penniless within one year.” – Harvard University

Long Term Care Insurance provides income should you end up requiring extended care. Long term care typically includes rehabilitative care, nursing care, personal and in-home health care. Long Term Care Insurance protects you in the event you have to enter a long term care facility. It can also help should you ever require at home health care assistance. The most popular type of long term care policy is one that provides income to you to provide for any type of long term care service – both in the home and in designated care facilities. Other types of policies reimburse you for eligible expenses or pay a set daily amount for expenses.

Question or concern about Long Term Care Insurance?

Call Firth Bateman: (604) 591-1336
Long Term Care Insurance
Delta, BC

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How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

This question requires careful consideration. First, ask yourself:
“If I died tomorrow, how much money would my family, or business partner, need?”

Insurance reduces risk and provides security for you and for your family’s future. To know how much insurance you need, you’ll need to consider your lifestyle and the possible risks that could affect it. When calculating how much life insurance you need, consider the following:

  • Estate Expenses
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Mortgage
  • Loans and Debts
  • Replacing Annual Income (number of years?)
  • Children’s Education
  • Resources available at death: Savings, Stocks, Mutual Funds, Retirement Funds, Life Insurance, and Other Assets

When you think of insurance, the first that comes to mind is auto and home insurance. Replacement of these assets in the event of damage can be very costly. Most people hold auto and home insurance policies.

Life insurance is essential to many families, affording extra security if the unthinkable should happen. The loss of a breadwinner is devastating enough, without having the added stress of worrying about how to cover the bills and mortgage.

Other types of insurance are equally important. Life events such as illness, accidental injury, loss of employment income, or a death in the family can affect family security. Yet these potential risks to your lifestyle can be reduced by the right insurance planning.

Changes in lifestyle also determine the types and amount of insurance you need. The amount of life insurance – and the characteristics of life insurance contracts – that you have will likely change throughout your life, depending on your life circumstances. Some of these changes might be getting married, starting a family, changing jobs or preparing for unexpected events.

Should you have Term, Universal Life or Whole Life Insurance? More information on the three types of insurance . . .

To meet modern trends, life insurance contracts can also act as investment vehicles, building up a sum of extra equity over the lifetime of the policy. This can be withdrawn or borrowed against, and usually offers a tax-free sum on retirement or death.

Deciding on an amount of life insurance you should have requires careful consideration. A Financial Advisor can help you determine just how much insurance you need, based on your age, your income, family circumstances and obligations, assets owned, and debts owed.

Question or concern about how much you insurance you need?

Call Firth Bateman: (604) 591-1336
Life Insurance Services
Delta, BC

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