Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Saskatoon Home Builder Decora Homes Home Safety Tip About Carbon Monoxide

DISTINCTIVE, CONTEMPORARY... DECORA HOMES. They build to reflect your personality, they design to meet your needs, they build relationships. DECORA HOMES... it's ALL in the details.  Decora Homes are Trusted Saskatoon Homebuilders


Decora Homes Share Important Carbon Monoxide Safety Tip

A very important winter reminder from Decora Homes: be sure to clear ice from vents, intakes, and exhaust pipes on your house. This is especially important for newer homes with advanced high-efficiency technology. This takes very little time to do and it is so important. If not cleared, it can cause carbon monoxide to back up into your home. 

This important reminder can save lives! Carbon monoxide is a silent killer - it has no odour, taste, or colour as it cannot be seen. It is highly poisonous and very flammable. Fire departments warn about this dangerous gas and suggest homeowners buy a CO detector - also a good tip for apartment dwellers. CO detectors are very reasonably priced and can saves lives, and you can't put a price on that. 

It is very important to keep vent pipes clear. Winter weather can lead to vent blockages which can cause terrible harm to families. Forgetting to clear ice and snow happens too often, even though it is an easy problem to solve.

Decora cares about the safety of their clients - Stay warm and safe! 



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Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits Professionals at Aurora Workplace Solutions Explain Workplace Cannabis Policies

Aurora Workplace Solutions are about creating brilliant futures by developing wealth security for businesses and individuals. As experts in the industry, they keep on top of recent news including changes to relevant group benefit plans, retirement savings options, and guidelines and policies. They also keep their eyes open for informative articles we think are of interest to our current and potential clients. Aurora Workplace Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits and Insurance Professionals! 

Workplace Policy Revisions Regarding Recreational Cannabis

Workplace Policies & Cannabis

Recent changes in the law surrounding the use of Cannabis products in Canada have a lot of employers asking how to handle this in the workplace. This recent article from Global News does a great job offering some suggestions on preparing your organization for handling the legalization of Marijuana and recreational use.

As you can see, now, more than ever, it is important for organizations to ensure they have a good drug policy in place that properly includes provisions for cannabis impairment in the workplace. It’s a good reminder that employers cannot tell their employees what they can and can’t do off duty, but expectations around impairment that could affect an employee’s ability to do their job safely, do need to be clearly outlined.

The legalization of marijuana is still a relatively new issue, but you do need to protect the health and safety of all of your employees with set company policies. As the lawyer from the Global article points out, companies do have to take into consideration the use of medicinal marijuana, so it’s not as simple as having a zero-tolerance policy.

If you have questions about your organization's drug or impairment policy or if you need help creating one, contact the team at Aurora Workplace Solutions.

Aurora Workplace Solutions design & create custom group benefits plans that meet custom organization goals. Read more about their Group Benefits Plans or contact them today to get started!

'Creating Brilliant Futures'


Aurora Workplace Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits and Insurance Professionals! 

Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits Professionals at Aurora Workplace Solutions Explain Benefit Costs

Aurora Workplace Solutions are about creating brilliant futures by developing wealth security for businesses and individuals. As experts in the industry, they keep on top of recent news including changes to relevant group benefit plans, retirement savings options, and guidelines and policies. They also keep their eyes open for informative articles we think are of interest to our current and potential clients. Aurora Workplace Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits and Insurance Professionals! 

Employers Are You Concerned About Rising Cost of Group Benefits? 

There is a new survey out from Aon that shows while Canadian employers are highly concerned about the rising costs of group benefits (due to drug expenses), they still prioritize the productivity and engagement of their employees and recognize the importance that group benefits play in creating healthy employees and a healthy work environment.

Canadian group benefit sponsors were surveyed by Aon to identify their Top 10 benefits and workplace priorities. 

The results were:

Top 10 Workforce Priorities

  1. Employee productivity/engagement
  2. Employee wellness
  3. Attracting, retaining employees; developing skills for changing business environment
  4. Workplace mental health
  5. Employee financial wellness
  6. Family support obligations, the effect on productivity and well-being
  7. Chronic illness effect on productivity
  8. Multi-generational workforce
  9. Delayed retirement – productivity and performance challenges
  10. Delayed retirement – employees working past normal retirement age.

Top 10 Group Benefits Priorities

  1. Escalating drug costs generally
  2. Escalating specialty drug costs in particular
  3. Escalating extended health costs generally
  4. Chronic illness effect on plan costs
  5. Need to personalize employee benefits experience
  6. Rising payroll costs (e.g. minimum wage, CPP contributions)
  7. Compliance/governance obligations
  8. Cost-shifting – public to private
  9. The administrative hassle of employee benefits
  10. National Pharmacare discussions

 


“The key takeaway from our survey is that plan sponsors are keenly aware of the need to manage rising benefits costs, but they also put a high priority on ensuring their employees are engaged and healthy,” commented Canadian health & benefits chief actuary Greg Durant. Durant prefaced that although the top priorities sound contradictory, there are ways for employers to achieve a balance – they will just have to “think outside the box” in order to meet both their workforce objectives while creating value for their people. One suggested method to achieve this balance is to create wellness programs that could potentially reduce overall extended health costs.

Aurora Workplace Solutions design & create custom group benefits plans that meet custom organization goals. Read more about their Group Benefits Plans or contact them today to get started!

If you are ready to set up a group benefit or retirement plan, or just want to learn more about their services, just Click Here For A Quote.

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Aurora Workplace Solutions are Trusted Saskatoon Group Benefits and Insurance Professionals! 

Trusted Saskatoon Insurance Pro's at Wiegers Financial & Benefits Explain Critical Illness Insurance

Wiegers Financial & Benefits is one of the largest private financial planning and employee benefits consulting firms in Saskatchewan. Its Saskatoon Financial Planning Division provides business ownershouseholds, retirees, and students with expert investment and insurance planning services to help them reach their long-term financial goals. They also have a Benefits and Personal Insurance planning division. In this latest Wiegers Financial tip they explain the importance of critical illness insurance. Wiegers Financial Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Financial Advisors and Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits experts


Unpacking Critical Illness Insurance and Why It Matters

No one wants to be told they have a terminal or critical illness. If you suffer from a heart attack, stroke, or cancer you could lead a normal life again. However, you need to plan for the financial cost of surviving a life-altering illness. In this article, we discuss key points about critical illness insurance and ask two Wiegers Financial & Benefits staff members with firsthand experience to explain the impact it has had on their lives.

Pat Kyle’s husband was diagnosed with a critical illness a few years ago after suffering a stroke at the age of 52.

Pat says: “You never think it’s going to happen to you. Everyone lives in a bubble. Even the healthiest people may have an illness at some point. In the moment, you’re so removed from your day-to-day and fixated on your situation that you don’t even think about it. In my case, I came back to work and it wasn’t even on my mind to apply. I was so concerned about my husband’s health. It wasn’t my top priority to fill in the application to submit the claim, but I knew it was there.
As the first employee at Wiegers to go through the critical illness insurance process, it was emotional and gratifying to know that I have that piece of the program to support me. It was very helpful to be able to put a claim in and ease the financial burden. It took away stress. Just the fact that we had it made all the difference in the world. That lump sum payment is a beautiful thing.
I’m now an advocate of both critical illness and life insurance. To me, they’re more important than purchasing an RRSP. My husband had a stroke, then a heart attack, and it builds. These things all work together. Strokes can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter what age. There are so many fundraisers or steak nights for people who are sick. You may know someone who has pulled money out of RRSPs to help their child have a chance to survive. Critical illness insurance protects the wealth that you’ve created and that others around you have created, too. It supports the family, not just the person affected by the illness.”


Kim Chicoine’s husband was involved in a serious accident at a young age that left a lot of uncertainty about whether he would survive.

Kim says: “Sitting in the hospital beside my husband, I didn’t have to worry about the finances if things went the other way. Knowing that there wasn’t going to be a change in our finances because we had that critical illness piece in our puzzle was so huge. There was the potential that if his condition didn’t improve, we could have a critical illness payout. We ended up not getting the payout because he got better. It’s great when it pays out, but it’s also great when it doesn’t. The money stress is not there. You know your finances aren’t going to change and you’re covered.”

What is critical illness insurance?

Critical illness insurance is meant to relieve the financial burden of recovery, so you can focus on the task at hand. It can be purchased for children as young as 60 days up to those at or nearing retirement.

It’s one of the newest products on the personal insurance market, having been available in Canada for approximately 20 years and internationally for nearly 40 years.

Critical illness insurance is a “wealth-protecting product”, says Pat Kyle. It keeps your finances at status quo – maintaining your debt, bills, mortgage, etc. – while you focus on getting better.

Why did the need for critical illness insurance arise?

A South African cardiac surgeon, Dr. Marius Barnard, pioneered critical illness insurance after he noticed his surviving patients were struggling financially. While it was excellent that his patients were living after experiencing a life-threatening illness like heart disease, Dr. Barnard observed they experienced a significant drop in their standard of living. The patients who had overcome surgery had emerged to a world where their quality of life suffered due to the costs associated with recovery.

Which conditions are classified as a critical illness?

Each insurance carrier’s definition of critical illness differs slightly. In general, there are 26 covered conditions with the top three being stroke, heart attack, and cancer.

What’s the benefit of using critical illness insurance?

The payout is designed to help support yourself and your family during extremely difficult personal health challenges. You can get policies starting as low as 25 thousand dollars in a tax-free cheque that you don’t need to declare on your tax return.

The value of critical illness insurance is totally dependent on your personal situation, for instance:

  • a stay-at-home parent could provide for their family with their partner’s critical illness payout;
  • a self-employed individual would need critical illness insurance to cover them in the absence of workplace benefits such as long- and short-term disability;
  • or a recent grad would be able to maintain their student debt payments, etc. while going through treatments.

It’s important that you consider both life insurance and critical illness in tandem. Each situation will vary in priority as to when they’re paid out. There is no one-solution-fits-all insurance product.

When is the best time to buy critical illness insurance?

The ideal time to buy critical illness insurance is when you’re healthy. If you’re not in good health, it’s a more difficult application process.

Kim Chicoine’s husband is still young, but his health has changed. If the Chicoine’s didn’t have critical illness insurance prior to the accident, they would likely be declined. Because they had it, they will continue to have it in the future.

Family history also comes into play during the underwriting process of critical illness. Your parents’ diagnoses can affect your application, so it’s best to apply while they’re healthy.

What happens to your life insurance after using critical illness insurance?

Nothing happens to your personal life insurance after you use critical illness insurance. It depends on your personal life insurance that you’ve been medically underwritten for with an insurance carrier. If you’ve continued to pay the premiums, your life insurance is still enforced. It is difficult to get life insurance after making a critical insurance claim, so it’s better to have both products beforehand. You’ll want your advisor to package life insurance with critical insurance when you’re healthy.

How long, on average, does it take to get paid after a diagnosis?

There is a clause that says you need to pass a survival period of 30 days. After that, payment can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month. After the survival period, your doctor will need to give evidence to support the need. The decision to payout is dependent on the attending physician’s statement and all other sources.

How can the funds be used once they’ve been distributed?

If you pass the 30-day survival period, there are no restrictions on how you use the money once it’s been paid out. You decide how to use it. For example, you could use it to cover experimental medical treatment to see specialists that may not be covered by the Canadian health care system.

What will purchasing a premium do?

You can upgrade a base policy with a simple lump sum payout by adding riders. When you add additional riders it adds additional costs, but it can help in certain situations to have the return of premiums.

Here are a few riders to consider:

  1. Return of premium on death rider: the lump sum won’t get paid out, but your beneficiary will be paid out what you have paid into the policy.
  2. Disability waiver premium: if you become disabled, the insurance company waives the premiums.
  3. Rider name? If you have a policy for 15 years, you can give back the policy and get back everything you put into it. Once the policy is finished you get all your premiums back.
  4. Second event rider: pays out if the second condition is different than the first.

Prioritize your future self

Pat Kyle says: “Critical illness insurance manages the risk of what could happen in your early years, so you don’t have to take money out of savings. My financial priorities are 1. life insurance, 2. critical illness insurance, 3. slush fund, 4. RRSP. Yes, saving is important. But if something comes up your savings aren’t going to last. In my opinion, it’s not about 'should I get critical illness insurance?' it’s 'why shouldn’t I have critical illness insurance?' Protect your future self.”
Kim Chicoine says: “Peace of mind is important. In Pat’s situation, it paid out, in mine it didn’t. But I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the hospital without it. I wouldn’t have been able to focus on my husband; I would have been stressed out about our finances.”


Your ability to earn an income is worth more than your house and vehicle combined. Everyone gets coverage for their material possessions and it’s important to insure yourself, too. The best time to start the process is when you’re healthy and you don’t think you’ll ever need it. Speak to a financial advisor at Wiegers Financial & Benefits about finding an affordable critical illness policy.

Wiegers’ Benefits Consulting Division includes many consultants and support staff who custom-design the most employee-valued and cost-effective group benefit, personal insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement plans available. Contact Wiegers today for a no-obligation consultation to determine how they can help you.

Wiegers Financial & Benefits are Trusted Saskatoon Insurance and Group Benefits Advisors 


Trusted Saskatoon Electricians Flash Electrical Contracting Share 5 Projects DIYers Should Not Attempt

Flash Electrical Contracting in Saskatoon has based its business on 100% customer satisfaction and referrals! They take great pride in being a team of young and ambitious entrepreneurs that are keen to stay on top of the latest innovations when it comes to your Saskatoon residential or commercial electrical needs. Flash Electrical Contracting are Trusted Saskatoon Electricians. 

5 Electrical Projects DIYers Should Not Attempt


We know people out there in Saskatoon love to DIY, but when it comes to electrical work there are some projects better left to the professionals at Flash Electrical.


1. Replacing Wiring

The main factor when deciding whether an electrical project can be tackled by a DIYer or whether it should be handled professionally is the complexity of the project. Replacing wire is one of the jobs that are simply too complicated for even experienced DIYers. There’s just too much that can go wrong to make DIY wire replacement worth the risk. Faulty wiring leads to electrical shorts that can single-handedly cause a disastrous house fire. According to statistics Canada in 2014, in Saskatchewan, 50% of the house fires were caused by electrical appliances or electrical distribution equipment.


2. Repairing or Replacing a Circuit Breaker

Another sure-fire (no pun intended) way to cause serious electrical problems in a home is to mess with the circuit breaker. Circuit breakers might seem simple from the outside, but they’re basically the brains of your house’s entire electrical system and is there to keep you safe. Making a mistake when you’re working on a breaker can cause power surges and damaged wiring throughout the home. Familiarize yourself with your circuit breaker so that you know when it’s not functioning properly and needs repair, but when it comes time to do the actual electrical work, hire a pro.


3. Replacing Burnt Outlets

Replacing outlets on their own is actually fairly simple and should not present too much of a challenge for experienced DIYers. But if an outlet is blackened, burnt, or even hot to the touch, don’t work on it. The issue here is probably related to overheated wires or overloaded circuits. If you just replace the outlet without looking deeper, you’re basically just applying a bandaid to an electrical problem. A professional electrician will be able to accurately diagnose whatever more advanced problem is causing the issue and then repair it correctly.


4. Installing Dedicated Circuits

Some appliances, especially those on the more heavy-duty side, require their own dedicated circuit for power so that they don’t cause the wiring to overheat. If you’re trying to set up a high-wattage appliance in a room without a dedicated circuit to spare, you might be tempted to try and install another one on your own - don’t. Installing a dedicated circuit requires more advanced knowledge of wiring and outlet installation, and if you get any of it wrong you’re just going to end up wasting time and money and creating a potential fire hazard.


5. Light Switches

Replacing switches that have gone bad or upgrading to a different kind of switch is not all that complicated. Installing an entirely new switch is. Avoid installing a new switch as a DIY project. A professional electrician will be able to do the job much safer and more efficiently.


Contact Flash Electric Contracting today to see how they can help you keep the lights on.

Flash Electrical Contracting is owned and operated by Journeyman Electrician Brodie Johnston. Their business has been built on 100% happy customers who have recommended Flash Electrical Contracting to others. Flash Electrical Contracting are Trusted Saskatoon Electricians. 


 



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