Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — January/February 2015

Calgary has the most competitive all-inclusive taxes of all Canadian cities, a new study finds. Plus, Montreal and Toronto make the top 10 of a ranking of the world’s best student cities.


Relative tax burdens 

A company basing its investment decisions strictly on tax considerations should avoid Charlottetown, Montreal and Saint John, NB, and choose Calgary and Saskatoon instead. The reason? Those cities have the most competitive all-inclusive taxes, a new study says.

The 2014 C.D. Howe Business Tax Burden Ranking singles out the largest city in each of the 10 provinces and determines its tax attractiveness. To do so, it measures not only corporate income, retail sales and capital taxes, but also provincial and municipal property taxes and land transfer taxes. These represent two-thirds of the tax wedge on investment, says the study.

When all taxes are taken into account, Calgary stands out as the most attractive city, followed by Saskatoon, Vancouver, St. John’s, Toronto, Winnipeg, Halifax, Montreal, Charlottetown and Saint John.


Unhappy customers

Unhappy customers 

Women in Canada control $1.1 trillion in financial assets and 33% earn more than their husbands. But many are not happy with their financial advisers, according to a Strategy Marketing study. In fact, 80% of women in Canada switch advisers within a year of their husband’s death. They have several reasons for being dissatisfied: they say they are stereotyped, given dumbed-down material, treated in a demeaning manner and not taken seriously. They also perceive an assumption on the adviser’s part that their husband handles the finances.


This is the (student) life

Both Montreal and Toronto placed in the top 10 on the QS Best Student Cities 2015  — a worldwide ranking that focuses on quality of life, student mix, affordability and other factors of interest to students.

Paris, Melbourne and London topped the 2015 list. Boston came in sixth place, followed by Tokyo (seventh), Montreal (eighth) and Toronto (ninth). Vancouver placed twelfth. No other country had three cities grouped so close to the top.

One student from the UK was particularly enthusiastic about Montreal: "[It] offers a melting pot of languages, cultures, and ideas — it’s impossible not to be inspired here. For me, a great student city is one where you learn more outside of the classroom than in it, and in this regard, Montreal has proved to be a perfect student city."


Early education planning

In a highly unusual case of alleged abuse, Shaida Bendali, a clerk at a Scarborough, Ont., hospital, took birth records of newborns and, without advising parents or hospitals, sold the information to several dealers of Registered Education Savings Plans.

The culprit is suspected of having accessed more than 8,300 records over a period of four years, reports the Wealth Professional. Soon after returning home from the birth, parents of the newborns received phone calls about buying RESPs.

The clerk is not under investigation by the Toronto police; they do not consider it a criminal matter. However, the Ontario Securities Commission has charged the suspect with unregistered trading, which can lead to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5 million, or both.