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New business ventures help Canadian snowbirds circumvent a closed U.S. land border – CBC.ca

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Despite the Canada-U.S. land border closure to non-essential traffic, Canadian snowbirds Bernard Loiselle and Sylvie Charbonneau are on their way to Florida — in their RV.

“Finally, we’re going,” said Loiselle, 57, from a road stop near Albany, N.Y. “The weather in Quebec was getting cold.”

The couple from Marieville, Que., southeast of Montreal, live in their RV year-round and spend the winter in Florida. This year, however, they faced a problem because they can’t drive their mobile home across the United States border during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But that problem was solved when they learned of a new service offered by KMC Transport.

The Quebec company flies snowbirds on a chartered plane from an airport just outside Montreal to nearby Plattsburgh, N.Y. KMC employees also drive the snowbirds’ vehicles to the Plattsburgh airport so, after landing, the passengers can continue their journey down south. 

“It was great to — from the plane — see our RV down there, just waiting for us,” said Loiselle. 

Loiselle and Charbonneau on Thursday, just before they boarded their flight from Montreal Saint-Hubert Longueuil Airport to nearby Plattsburgh, N.Y., to begin their migration south. (submitted by Sylvie Charbonneau)

Despite soaring COVID-19 infection rates in the U.S. and Canada’s advisory not to travel abroad, many snowbirds are determined to head south this winter. 

Although Canadians can’t drive to the U.S. due to the land border closure, they can fly to the country. But that still creates a problem for snowbirds who want to take their vehicles down south. 

In response, several transport companies have come up with new ways to help snowbirds — and their cars — cross the border. 

KMC ships vehicles to the U.S. sunbelt for snowbirds. But the fee can be prohibitive to transport an RV — around $4,300.

So owner and president Michael Couturier devised a cheaper option: starting in late October, he arranged charter flights for snowbirds to Plattsburgh, plus transport service for their vehicles.

Customers pay $500 per seat on the plane and $1,000 for the vehicle transport. As a commercial transport company, KMC can bring vehicles into the U.S., despite the border restrictions, Couturier said.

“Every commercial transaction at the border is considered essential,” he said. “We’ve got to have all the paperwork, and then we are allowed to do it.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CBC News that there are no restrictions on Canadians importing vehicles to the United States during the land border closure.

Warning to snowbirds

KMC flies to Plattsburgh twice each weekday. Couturier said the nine-seater plane is always full. 

The added business has been a big boost for the company, which normally focuses on transporting RVs to dealers.

That side of the business has slowed during the pandemic, said Couturier, but catering to snowbirds has allowed him to keep all his 35 workers employed.

“If it wasn’t for snowbirds, the company would be in trouble this year,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity for us.”

WATCH: Canada’s prime minister urges vigilance as cases spike:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returned to the steps of Rideau Cottage where he made an impassioned plea to Canadians to slow the spread of the COVID virus. 2:25

Meanwhile, the federal government continues to warn Canadians to avoid international travel during the pandemic. 

“People are safest when they stay at home,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a news conference on Tuesday. 

However, the message hasn’t deterred eager snowbirds. Some argue they will be safe, because they have COVID-19 medical insurance and plan to stick to their gated community at their destination. 

“[You] just do your groceries, you go back to your RV and you have your supper there and that’s it,” said Loiselle.

Helicopter rides for snowbirds

Jeremy Rood’s parents were still keen to go to Florida this winter, but wanted to take both their car and their Labrador, Abby. So the helicopter pilot came up with a solution that his employer, Great Lakes Helicopter in Cambridge, Ont., has turned into a business. 

The company picks up snowbirds at the Hamilton, Ont. airport and helicopters them just across the border to Buffalo, N.Y. Then, Rood’s friend — who runs a transport company — transports the passengers’ vehicles, typically on a flatbed truck, to the Buffalo airport. 

“My parents wanted to get to Florida for the winter and I said, ‘No problem, I’ll make sure you guys get down there,'” said Rood. “We put our heads together and ended up with this little thing that we’re doing here.”

Pilot Jeremy Rood flew his mother, Diane, his father and their dog from Hamilton to Buffalo. He also transported their car, so the snowbird couple could have their vehicle with them during their winter in Florida. (submitted by Jeremy Rood)

Since starting the service in late October, Great Lakes Helicopter has flown 30 passengers and has hundreds more bookings. The cost for a couple to fly in their own private helicopter and transport their car is $1,900. Pets are welcome onboard. 

Rood said he’s not surprised by the brisk business, despite the pandemic. 

“We have long, cold winters here,” he said. “You’re not able to get outside, stay fit, stay active.”

Serving snowbirds due to popular demand

On the West Coast, the winters may not be as cold, but many snowbirds there still want to head south — and take their cars. 

That created an opportunity for Bidbuy Importers based in Blaine, Wash. The company traditionally imports vehicles to private buyers and dealers.

But this year it has branched out to also transport snowbirds’ vehicles from the Vancouver area to U.S. sunbelt states or to closer destinations, such as the Seattle airport. 

Jayde McElroy, vice-president of marketing and sales with Bidbuy Importers, is also helping snowbirds on the West Coast travel south. The service costs from $500 to upwards of $3,000. (submitted by Jayde McElroy)

Jayde McElroy, Bidbuy’s vice-president of marketing and sales, said the company took on snowbird clients due to popular demand.

“When the border shut down, we received so many inquiries from snowbirds that were wondering if we could help them out,” he said. “At first, we didn’t know because it is not something we’ve done.”

So far, Bidbuy has transported 40 cars. The company has about 100 more booked over the next couple of months. Costs range from around $500 to upwards of $3,000, depending on the type of vehicle and the distance it’s travelling. 

When asked about helping snowbirds go south during the pandemic, McElroy said he’s happy to help them escape winter. 

“You never know how long this is gonna go on for. You got to enjoy your life.” 

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon

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Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 


Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 


Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements

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After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile. 

Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.

Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”  

Education background information you should provide:

  • Degree/certification obtained 
  • School’s name
  • Location of school
  • Period of attendance
  • Relevant coursework
  • Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning

When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.

Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):

BS Biomedical Science

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996

Courses:

  • Principles of Human Genetics
  • Organismal Biology
  • Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
  • Advanced Bioinformatics

PMP® Certification

Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003

Courses:

  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Leadership in Project Management
  • Project Cost and Procurement Management
  • Project Risk and Quality Management

As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.

You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.    

I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag. 

If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.

Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.

One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.

Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.

______________________________________________________________

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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4 Simple Reasons Why Doing Business With the Right Safety Equipment Supplier Matters

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photo of woman writing on tablet computer while using laptop

As a business owner, you know the value of working with suppliers that offer what your operation needs. With many options to consider, it can take some effort on your part to find the right industrial safety equipment supplier and set up an account. If you need some incentive to choose one supplier that’s right for you, consider these reasons

One-Stop Shopping For What You Need

You have plenty of things to do each day. That doesn’t leave a lot of time to compare the pricing that different suppliers charge for things that you need. Your best bet is to do the research up front and identify the supplier that has all of the industrial safety supplies that you use while providing reasonable unit pricing.

Instead of spending an hour or more checking multiple sources, you make one call or submit one online order to the supplier that you’ve already vetted. The time that you save can be spent taking care of other important tasks.

Items are Always in Stock

Competitive pricing is great, but it doesn’t help a lot when the items you need to buy are out of stock. While this is likely to happen from time to time, it should not be a common occurrence. What you need is a supplier who has strict procedures in place for restocking whenever the number of units available reaches a minimum level.

This type of vendor will ensure that the odds of not being able to fill a customer order immediately are somewhere between slim and none. That’s good news, since you don’t want a lack of essential industrial safety products to interfere with your ability to take care of your customers in a timely manner.

Only the Highest Quality is Available

Price does matter, but it’s not the only consideration. When you look for a vendor who offers the type of industrial safety equipment and supplies that you need, pay close attention to the quality. Ideally, you want to spend money on items that do more than meet the minimum requirements in your area. Those products should exceed the minimum and offer your team more benefits.

One of the more important is effectiveness and the impact on safety. You do want the safety supplies and equipment to work quickly while also limiting the potential for damage to the property. They should also minimize the risk to your employees. The right supplier will offer products that provide you with all of these benefits.

And Your Orders Arrive in a Timely Manner

A supplier who offers multiple options for delivery times is exactly what you need. There will be times when standard shipping that comes with a three or four day delivery is fine. You may also have a need for something to be delivered by the following business day. That would call for expedited shipping.

Whatever your need, it helps to work with a supplier who can process your orders and have them delivered in the time frame you desire. This can be especially important if a recent event exhausted one or more of the products you use for industrial fire safety and need to replace them without any delays.

Take an inventory of what the type and quantity of fire safety supplies and equipment you keep on hand. Check with a quality supplier like HerbertWilliams.com and see what’s available. Your likely to find the pricing as well as the shipping options will be just what your business needs.
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