Put an end to jacked up resale tickets, says B.C. MLA

Spencer Chandra Herbert says constituents complained after being shut out of Paul McCartney concerts

By Tamara Baluja and Richard Zussman, CBC News Posted: Mar 14, 2016

An NDP MLA says it's time for the B.C. government to put in legislation to regulate ticket reselling after several people complained about jacked up Paul McCartney tickets.

An NDP MLA says it’s time for the B.C. government to put in legislation to regulate ticket reselling after several people complained about jacked up Paul McCartney tickets. (Shaun Best/Reuters)

An NDP MLA says it’s time for the B.C. government to put in legislation to regulate ticket reselling.

Spencer Chandra Herbert says he’s heard from angry constituents who are frustrated at being shut out of tickets for the Paul McCartney concerts in Vancouver next month and then seeing them on reseller websites.

Many of those tickets obtained by people around the world are now selling them for more than double their face value.

It’s a practice Herbert says should be stopped through legislation.

“If you are a company that is predatory and based on buying every last ticket and squeezing every dollar out of people, then no. The artists don’t want it. The hockey teams don’t want it.”

But Public Safety Minister Mike Morris says banning people from buying tickets just to sell them for inflated prices is hard to stop.

“When you are dealing over the internet with multiple jurisdictions, multiple laws in place … it makes it a nightmare at the legislative level.”

One suggestion for changes has been ensuring everyone that sells a ticket, including online brokers, has a licence they must obtain from the B.C. government.

Ontario has rules in place that allow for ticket re-sellers to make a profit, but they must provide authentication or offer a money-back guarantee. Such rules could prevent fans from getting scammed by fake tickets.

Notes from Dora Ng – WESN’s Better at Home Coordinator

On October 15th, a Vancouver Sun article announced that St. Elizabeth, a non-profit provider of home care services, will be laying-off 89 home care workers, many of whom have been with the company for15 – 20 years.The rationale is that “Vancouver Coastal Health is turning the work over to volunteers.” The authority will “now provide personal medical care only” while “services such as house cleaning, laundry, cooking or shopping are left to family, friends or a United Way program called Better at Home.”

That part of the Health Authorities’ work could be turned over to volunteers is alarming to me. Now I love the idea of volunteerism, of service, of self-less giving. We all know that WESN cannot operate at all without our dedicated and generous volunteers.

But I also love the idea that those who have worked hard and paid taxes their whole lives will be well looked after in their golden years. As a young working person it is also important to me that those who are working hard right now are able to make a decent living that can support a family. In the living wage discussion many argue that certain jobs just don’t deserve decent  wages.

But surely a profession such as home care, one that is so physically and mentally demanding, one that requires such compassion and professional knowledge, is one which the stingiest Grinch can agree deserves a living wage at the very least.

That is unfortunately not the trend that I’ve been observing in my time at WESN.

In the past three years working the Better at Home program I have witnessed a steep deterioration of both the working conditions of home support workers and the care that seniors receive. Union workers paid living wages are laid-off as the work is given to casual part-time workers paid close to minimum wage. A work day could be 8 hours long but with only 6 hours paid. Commute time is unpaid,cancellations mean no pay. Seniors who require home care often have complicated mental and physical health issues that a casual housekeeper should never have to deal with. The demographic that make up the bulk of workers in the field are single mothers, women of colour, people who are more vulnerable to poor working conditions.

Even as such we are still unable to serve all the seniors who need home support in the West End. The non-profit sector is often asked to find “efficiencies” and “creative solutions” to address challenges in the community. ”Efficient” seem to have become a euphemism for “cheaper,” and “creative” for “pay less” or “use volunteers.” Those who are caregivers will know that the work involved is so taxing that often even family members are unable to provide care. One wonders how volunteers are expected to fill this role.

It is my hope that volunteers give their time because of a desire to give back to a caring and supportive community. However, more and more it seems that volunteers are new immigrants who need local experience to get jobs, students who need hours to get into certain programs, or people who receive an allowance for volunteering. I believe this hurts both the spirit of volunteerism and our sense of community as a whole. While we struggle to serve seniors on our wait-list for subsidized services, I do not believe using volunteers to do the work of home care workers is the answer, and it is my hope that it will not be our health minister’s answer either.

RESP Information

British Columbia Training and Education Savings Grant

Families in British Columbia are encouraged to start planning and saving early for their children’s post-secondary education or training programs. To help, the B.C. Government will contribute $1,200 to eligible children through the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG).

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the $1,200 available via the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant the following criteria must be met:

  1. The child was born in 2006 or later
  2. You and the child must be residents of British Columbia
  3. The child is the beneficiary of a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) with a participating financial institution

Budget 2016 provides an additional $39 million to extend the BCTESG program to children born on or after January 1, 2006, to help more parents and families save early for their child’s education.

When can I apply?

The earliest you can request the grant is when your child turns six. After that, you may apply any day before their ninth birthday.

Since this is a new program, if your child had their 6th birthday in 2013, 2014 or 2015, you have an extension until August 14, 2018 or the day before their ninth birthday, whichever is later to get the grant. If your child was born in 2006, you have an extension until August 14, 2019, to get the grant.

Grant application period for eligible children

Birth Year 1st day of eligibility 1st day to apply Last day to apply
2006 Child’s 6th birthday in 2012 August 15, 2016 August 14, 2019
2007 Child’s 6th birthday in 2013 August 15, 2015 August 14, 2018
2008 Child’s 6th birthday in 2014 August 15, 2015 August 14, 2018
2009 Child’s 6th birthday in 2015
from Jan 1, 2015 to Aug 15, 2015
August 15, 2015 August 14, 2018
Child’s 6th birthday after Aug 15, 2015 Day the child turned 6 Day before the child turns 9
2010 or later Child’s 6th birthday Day the child turns 6 Day before the child turns 9

More info here

Step one: The child is a beneficiary of a RESP

If the child has already been named to a RESP, make sure the RESP provider offers the grant.  If not, you may open another RESP at a participating provider in order to receive the $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant.

If the child has not yet been named to a RESP, choose the RESP provider that best suits your needs and ask if they offer RESPs with the option for the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant.

To be eligible to receive the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant, the RESP must be an individual (non-family) plan or a family plan in which all beneficiaries are siblings.

Step two: Fill out the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant application at a participating financial institution

Required documents to prove B.C. residency:

  • If this is a new RESP the parent/guardian and the child must have Social Insurance Numbers and one of the following:
  • A valid British Columbia driver’s license;
  • A British Columbia Identification Card (BCID card) with a picture;
  • A British Columbia Services Card (new BC CareCard and driver’s license will be fully implemented in 2018);
  • A British Columbia utilities bill (dated within the last 3 months and listing the current address of the custodial parent or the legal guardian). A utilities bill can be any one of: electricity, gas, phone, cable, water or garbage bills.

General Information

If approved, the $1,200 grant will be deposited directly into the RESP once the application has been processed by the Employment and Social Development Canada.

The money will arrive within about six to eight weeks after the application is made.

Each eligible child may get one grant of $1,200.

Please note that transferring the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant from a RESP held at a participating financial institution to a non-participating financial institution may result in a loss of the grant.

Explore your options

You should shop around to find a RESP provider that does not require any contributions to open the RESP.  Make sure the RESP you are opening qualifies for the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant.

About RESPs and the Canada Education Savings Programs

RESPs are special education savings accounts registered with the Government of Canada to help you save for your child’s post-secondary education or training program. The money deposited in it grows tax-free until withdrawn.

RESPs can be left opened for up to 36 years and can be used by beneficiaries to pay for full-time or part-time studies in a qualifying college, university, trade school, or apprenticeship programs.

The Government of Canada’s www.canlearn.ca website has tips and resources that can guide families in choosing the right RESP and the right RESP provider.

Many RESP promoters do not charge any fees or require any minimum deposits, but it depends on the institution and the type of RESP.

Restrictions and Conditions

The grant must be used for post-secondary education or training purposes.  Once the beneficiary is enrolled in full-time or part-time studies at a qualifying post-secondary educational program, the B.C Training and Education Savings Grant is withdrawn from the RESP by the way of Education Assistance Payment.

For more information, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website:  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/

The grant can be used at any qualifying post-secondary education or training program in Canada or outside Canada.

In the event that the RESP is closed or the beneficiary chooses not to pursue a post-secondary education or training program, the B.C Training and Education Savings Grant will be returned to the Province of British Columbia.

Taxation

The B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant is not considered as taxable income until it is taken from the RESP in an Educational Assistance Payment for post-secondary education. Once deposited into the RESP, it also grows tax-free.

However, money paid out of the RESP as an Educational Assistance Payment is taxed as income in the hands of the student. Since many students have little or no income while they attend post-secondary education, they can usually withdraw the money tax-free.

For more information on the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant:

Employment and Social Development Canada
Canada Education Savings Program
Programme canadien pour l’épargne-études
Toll-Free Call center 1 888 276-3624
TTY Call Center 1 866 260-7723
Email: CESP-PCEE@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

 

Welcome to your West End and Coal Harbour Website

Dear friends,

As I look forward with hope, I continue to be encouraged by you, the generous, and compassionate people of the West End and Coal Harbour.

From the dedicated volunteers at the Community Policing Centre who help make our community safer, to the generous volunteers of the Seniors Planning Table at Gordon Neighbourhood House to the good work of the West End Seniors Network delivering groceries to shut-in Seniors, to the Lord Roberts Annex PAC who are fundraising to replace the school playground because the province has stopped funding them.

We are truly blessed.

However, in a province as wealthy as ours, many of our neighbours struggle with poverty on a daily basis. BC once again has the highest poverty rate in Canada, but still no plan in sight to tackle it.

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I wish you and yours peace and health and if I can be of any assistance to you with provincial issues, don’t hesitate to call upon me.

Spencer