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Red Deer’s “Blue-Collar” Accountant Cory Litzenberger featured on national radio show by Charles Adler

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11 minute read

The Blue Collar Accountant

Cory G. Litzenberger, CPA, CMA, CFP, C.Mgr

Since the time I went to school to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), I’ve referred to myself as a Blue Collar worker trapped in a White Collar body.

My father, born in 1931, grew up on a farm… and eventually became a journeyman carpenter. My father built houses for his employer for most of his 32 years with that company before being laid off because a White Collar consultant was brought in and had said there was no record of what my father did.

My father was the service and warranty repairman in the twilight of his career and got his tasks each day on pink pieces of “while you were out” note paper.

Not the best record keeping.

My dad now had no job… and this experience had showed me that loyalty to your employer meant nothing.

I was 13 years old – and I (now a 6’6, 350 lb frame), hadn’t even hit my first growth spurt yet.

In order to feed his family, my father got a temporary job cleaning high schools from midnight to 8am. When an opening came up, he helped attach portable classrooms to the growing schools (one classroom I ended up sitting in during high school).

The GST had just become a reality, and the Chretien “Red Book” was going to solve everything.

We eventually moved into a seniors’ living complex as he got a full-time job as an on-site caretaker when I was in high school.

I had the biggest rec room of all my friends.

What did this hard work and determination from my Blue Collar father teach me? It taught me – don’t be “that” guy. Don’t be the White Collar business owner or consultant that comes in and makes it difficult for working class families trying to make ends meet.

As a result of my upbringing and education, I was a square peg in a round hole (or I guess based on my stature, a round peg in a square hole).

I started delivering flyers, became a busboy in a small family restaurant, eventually moving on to unloading semi-trucks at a grocery store, pumping gas, landscaping, working security at bars and Roughriders games, refereed basketball, and became a bank teller.

Yes… I could hold a job. The reality is that they were all part-time, and I worked four of them at the same time during the day, while going to school at night.

I was not going to end up in my father’s position. I was going to be a White Collar guy… but I was going to do it differently.

Eventually, I found my path into accounting and taxation, and much of my story has been documented since then.

The one thing I’ve always done, is stand up for small business owners, especially the Blue Collar trades businesses that needed someone in their corner.

To this extent, after listening to Charles Adler, I wrote a thread on Twitter after he spoke about his parents, and wondered how they would be treated today trying to get ahead.

I’ve reposted this thread below, but now you know why I am as passionate as I am about small business – the working class – the Blue Collar. This is not fake… this is me.

Yes, I have a White Collar job, but I’m going to do what I can to stand up for the Blue Collar clients that keep MY family fed… because if they take after their dad, they will eat a lot.

My thread below, also found here

  • The working class in Alberta is also your small business.  Businesses with <100 employees accounted for 70.6% of private sector worker in 2017. 1/2 of that number had <20 employees. Energy sector prefers contractors over employees because of volatility in commodities…
  • … as a result, many contractors are laid off before any employee layoffs are even mentioned in the news. These trades contractors work away for weeks (sometimes months) at a time not knowing if the day they go home will be their last cheque or not. …
  • … Employment Insurance (EI) only covers employees. Contractors can opt in for EI Special Benefits like maternity and medical leave, but they are not eligible for EI Regular benefits like employees. We hear the laurentians of Eastern Canada say they should have saved money…
  • … saved it for a rainy day maybe… but they don’t realize that even Noah only had to make it last 40 days… not 40 weeks… not 40 months. We are now into month 48 of the downturn in the Energy sector… the rainy day fund is bone dry. So what has the government done? …
  • … since elected, we saw the introduction of the Specified Corporate Income (SCI) rules. Simply put, if you are in business in Canada; do a job for a relative that is more than 10% of your gross sales for the year, you lose your small business tax rate on that income…
  • … this was a massive blow to agriculture and rural Canada where many relatives work for each other. There are proposed relief coming to the agriculture sector, but not rural Canadians in business. Then came TOSI – Tax On Split Income…
  • … this does not target the downtown Toronto retailer, but it does target your small business trades. Remember ‘those people’ in Alberta’s energy sector? Yep, it hits them the most… especially those under 25… https://linkedin.com/pulse/how-would-mary-joseph-taxed-today-cory-g-litzenberger/… …
  • … the TOSI changes impacted the middle class the most… https://linkedin.com/pulse/targeting-middle-class-how-trudeau-government-tax-you-litzenberger/… … the math shows just how more punitive this rule is on low and middle income Canadians compared to wealthy ones…
  • … then came Adjusted Aggregate Investment Income (AAII) rules under the guise of “taxing the wealthy”. The talking points were about a $1M portfolio making 5%. The reality is that it is legislated as $50,000 of income. The size of the portfolio is irrelevant. …
  • … The most common way to hit $50k of income is to have sublet part of your business location since you don’t need it all. This AAII tax hit ONLY impacts small business. It does not hit pure holding companies; large corporations; or foreign controlled companies in Canada. …
  • … in addition to already paying 50.67% income tax on that rental income (Alberta rates), you would start to lose your small business tax rate at $5 to $1. In other words, $1 over the limit, didn’t change your federal active business rate from 11% to 27% on that dollar…
  • … it changed it on $5 of your income. So that means instead of paying an additional 16 cents of tax on that extra dollar of income, you were paying 5 x 16 = 80 cents. 80% income tax on that extra $1 of investment income. But that’s not all…
  • … this was over the 50.67% already taxed. This means on that $1.00 of extra investment income, you would be charged $1.3067 in tax. Remember: Large Corporations, Pure Holding Corporations, and Foreign controlled corporations still only pay 50.67% on that same dollar…
  • … Tell me in what world does a 130.67% tax rate on $1 of income make sense? Since 2015, the Federal Government has methodically attacked small business with tax changes, but has done so while convincing urban Ontario and Quebec that they are targeting the wealthy…
  • … the working class, small business in rural Canada has been slowly squeezed by tax policy. Which part of Canada do you think has to use the most carbon, just to get to work and buy groceries? Rural Canada. There is an urban vs rural divide happening right now. #cdnpoli
  • (addition)… throw into the mix the increase in CPP contributions required from 4.95% to 5.95% of earnings by 2023 and that 1% on someone making the projected maximum CPP amount is $600 extra. Both the employee and employer pay this in 2023… but don’t worry…
  • … the basic personal amount was projected to be $13,092 by then, and the gov’t is raising it to $15,000 instead. A difference of $286.20 in tax. So, you pay up to $600 more to CPP, and get back $286.20. But if you are self-employed, you pay $1,200 to get the same $286.20…
  • … if you are a small business with 5 employees… you pay $3,000 more for them… and get nothing more in return. An increase on the CPP amount is not to help pension, it is just another attack on small business and the working class.

https://omny.fm/shows/charles-adler-tonight/who-really-are-the-canadian-working-class

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

A complete list of Alberta’s New Enhanced Emergency Measures

Published on

From the Province of Alberta

New measures at a glance

Unless otherwise stated, the following mandatory restrictions come into effect Nov. 24 and will be in place for at least three weeks.

1. See list of communities under enhanced status (purple areas)
2. See list of affected communities in the Calgary area and the Edmonton area.
Measures All Alberta Enhanced (purple) Areas1 Calgary Area2 Edmonton Area2
No indoor social gatherings in any setting Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outdoor gatherings max of 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wedding and funeral services max of 10, no receptions permitted Yes Yes Yes Yes
No festivals or events Yes Yes Yes Yes
Grades 7-12 at-home learning Nov 30-Jan 11 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Grades K-6 at-home learning Dec 18-Jan 11 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Working from home should be considered, where possible Yes Yes Yes Yes
Places of worship at 1/3 normal attendance No Yes Yes Yes
Restricted access to some businesses and services starting Nov. 27 No Yes Yes Yes
Mandatory masks for indoor workplaces No No Yes Yes

Gathering restrictions

  • Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – effective Nov. 24

    • No indoor social gatherings are permitted in any setting (private homes, public spaces or workplaces)
      • Indoor close contacts must be limited to people in the same household
      • People who live alone can have up to the same 2 non-household contacts for the duration of the restriction
      • Work and support group meetings are not social gatherings, but attendance should be limited and public health measures followed
      • This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers
    • Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must not have an indoor component
      • Backyard gatherings that require movement in/out of homes are not permitted
      • Attendees should remain distanced at all times and follow public health measures
    • Festivals and events are prohibited (indoors and outdoors)

    Learn more about gatherings.

  • Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – effective Nov. 24

    • Maximum of 10 people for wedding ceremonies or funeral services
      • This includes the officiant, bride/groom and witnesses
      • This does not include staff or organizers who are not considered an invited guest
      • This applies to any facility, including places of worship and funeral homes.
      • This includes services held indoors or outdoors, seated or non-seated.
    • Receptions are not permitted

    This measure will help limit exposure, reduce outbreaks and protect vulnerable attendees.

  • Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – effective Nov. 24

    • Maximum of 1/3 normal attendance for places of worship
    • Physical distancing between households must be maintained
    • Mask use is required
    • Online services are encouraged
    • In-person faith group meetings can continue but must maintain physical distancing and public health measures must be followed

    Faith communities are often significant aspects of people’s lives, and include intimate and close contact between members. This measure will help limit exposure at these activities, reducing outbreaks and protecting vulnerable members who attend.

  • Mandatory restriction – Calgary and Edmonton areas – Effective Nov. 24

    • Masks are mandatory in all indoor workplaces, except when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle or an appropriate barrier is in place
      • This applies to all employees, visitors, delivery personnel and contractors
      • This includes all locations where employees are present and masks won’t pose a safety risk
      • This does not change current student mask requirements in schools
  • Working from home should be considered, where possible.

  • Mandatory restriction – Provincewide – Starting Nov. 30

    Grades 7-12 students

    • Move to at-home learning Nov. 30 to Jan. 8, except during winter break*
    • Resume in-person classes Jan. 11
    • Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year. Students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the April, June and August 2021 exams.

    Grades K-6 students (including Early Childhood Services)

    • Continue in-person learning to Dec. 18
    • Move to at-home learning Dec. 18 to Jan. 8, except during winter break*
    • Resume in-person classes Jan. 11

    *Schools have different winter break schedules, check with your school for details.

    Learn more at K-12 learning during COVID-19

Business and service restrictions

Effective Nov. 27, new restrictions will limit the amount of contact between people in the community, while still allowing businesses to offer services. These measures apply to all communities on the enhanced list (purple areas).

Albertans are encouraged to limit in-person visits to retail locations and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services.

  • Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27

    Businesses that are closed for in-person service include:

    • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres
    • Children’s play places or indoor playgrounds
    • All levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur). Exemptions may be considered.

     

  • Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27

    Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be open with restrictions if they follow all public health guidance in place including:

    • Maximum of 6 people from the same immediate household at a table and no movement between tables.
      • People who live alone can meet with up to 2 non-household contacts as long as they’re the same two throughout the duration of these restrictions
    • Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
    • Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in person-dining at 11 pm. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.

    Albertans are encouraged to use take out, delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up options.

    Additional inspections will occur to verify that public health measures are being followed. Establishments that are non compliant may face orders and fines.

  • Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27

    Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.

    • Retail, including liquor and cannabis
    • Grocery stores
    • Pharmacies
    • Clothing stores
    • Computer and technology stores
    • Hardware
    • Automotive
    • Farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
    • Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets

    Some entertainment and event services may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.

    • Movie theatres
    • Museums and galleries
    • Libraries
    • Casinos, offering slots only. Table games must be closed at this time.
    • Indoor entertainment centres including amusement parks, water parks, bingo halls and racing centres.
    • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.
      • Facilities can be open for individual studio time, training or exercise only.
      • There can be no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.
      • Instructors can use facility to broadcast virtual fitness classes from, but there can be no group class.

    All public health guidance and physical distancing requirements must be followed.

    Albertans and businesses are encouraged to limit in-person visits and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services instead.

  • Mandatory restriction – Enhanced status (purple) areas – Effective Nov. 27

    Businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.

    • Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services,
    • Wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology
    • Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers
    • Private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted)
    • Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges

    These businesses must follow all current public health guidance for their sector and should consider virtual options where possible.

    Home-based businesses should follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

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#ReDiscoverRedDeer

Downtown Business Spotlight: Motion

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This week’s Business Spotlight shines on Motion! This business specializes in customized mobility and home accessibility solutions for clients of any age and is located at 4720 50 Ave. We sat down with Regional Manager, Trudy Russell, to learn more!

What is your business?

Motion is Canada’s leading provider of comprehensive and customized mobility and home accessibility solutions for a wide variety of clients from children to elderly adults. Serving communities in Alberta, BC, Ontario and Saskatchewan for more than 30 years, it is Motion’s mission to improve the lives of our clients every day with solutions that are delivered professionally, consistently and with integrity.

When did your business open?

Motion (formerly Motion Specialties) began serving the Red Deer community in October 2011. Previously located at 5301 43 Street, our facility moved to 4720 50 Avenue in the heart of downtown in June 2017 – an exciting opportunity to become a part of the Downtown Red Deer Business Association.

What makes your business unique?

The products and services we provide are truly life changing. It’s the difference between someone being bed ridden or limited to where they can go vs. getting outside, visiting family and friends, and continuing the activities they love the most. Our clients are people with important life needs and our caring and knowledgeable experts understand the importance of customized solutions.

What are some products/services that you offer?

Products include wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, stairlifts, ramps, ceiling lifts, homecare beds, and more. Whether a client is being fitted for equipment for the first time, is in need of an equipment repair, looking to upgrade their solution or looking to rent equipment following a surgery or due to injury, Motion’s knowledgeable experts are ready to deliver with the utmost of care and respect.

Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business? 

As it is Motion’s vision to make life accessible for everyone, this is top of mind when choosing a location for our facility. Clients need to be able to drive their scooter or power wheelchair, for example, with ease not only in our facility but in the community where we are situated, and Downtown Red Deer offers this accessibility.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

The buildings, including ours, have history and character; we were a Simpsons-Sears in the 1960s! Keeping Downtown Red Deer alive with the Farmers Market in the Summer, featuring local Artists sharing their beautiful voices, is always a wonderful event to witness.

I love Downtown Red Deer because… It’s an incredibly close-knit and supportive community that we’re proud to be a part of.

If you’re looking for a business that specializes in making life accessible for all, look no further than Motion. Check out their website and social media pages!

Website: https://motioncares.ca/locations/red-deer 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/motioncares

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/motioncares/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/motioncares

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november, 2020

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