As provinces try to reopen their economies across the country and ease into the process allowing some businesses to bring back employees to the workplace, one unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic may linger on for the foreseeable future.
A vast amount of Canadians sent home to work remotely during the pandemic now prefer to continue to do so in a post-COVID-19 world, and many more businesses intend to allow them to keep doing so.
A recent poll from Accenture found that over 60 per cent of Canadians now preferred some sort of hybrid or remote work model, as many organizations plan for employees to return to their workplace.
In June, a poll from the Business Development Bank of Canada found that 74 per cent of businesses would let their employees work from home even after the COVID-19 pandemic, and that more than half of all employees would like to work remotely as much or more than they do now.
Sonia Gandhi, a partner at KPMG who heads its Global Mobility Tax Services practice, said that an increasing number of employees are now making requests to work at different locations other than their physical workplaces.
“They’re asking their employer, ‘can I work one month or more, say in Whistler or maybe Florida, Portugal or Barbados?’” said Gandhi.
The Future of Work: Work from home and remote working
“We are seeing companies across different industries now considering a ‘work from anywhere’ arrangement with their employees. Employees are asking for this flexibility and employers are seeing it as a perk to differentiate themselves in the market.“
While some employees are reveling in the added benefit of remote work, some may be asking how being hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from home will impact their taxes come spring.
Tax rates differ vastly from province to province, so what happens when a person initially employed by a business in Ontario happens to start working remotely in B.C. — all the way across the country on the West Coast.
According to Gandhi, calculating taxes from province to province may not be as complicated as it sounds. She explained that according to the current Canadian tax system, an employee will only be taxed based on which province they’re residents of.
That means if a person who lives in and is employed in Halifax decides to work remotely in Banff for several months, they would only need to pay income tax based on what the Nova Scotia government requests. The same goes for employers as well — businesses would only have to calculate the withholding tax, TPP and social security for that employee based on where their office is located.
How working from home is changing the behavioural landscape since the onset of COVID-19
Where it gets complicated, according to Gandhi, is when a company based in one province hires an employee living in another. The employer will need to withhold tax base on the rate specified by their province, while the employee would have to pay the rate specified by their home province.
In that situation, Gandhi said that employee will either need to pay that difference or receive a refund when they file their taxes in April.
“Remote working is actually not that complicated from province to province but where it does get a little more complicated is when the remote work is in a different country other than the location of the employer,” said Gandhi.
Many Canadians working remotely are now choosing not only to work outside of their home province but outside of the country as well.
Gandhi said that when it comes to working internationally like so, the issue extends further from that of taxes — Canadians planning to work abroad will have make sure they legally can and will have the ability to do so from an “immigration perspective.”
How remote work is impacting the office economy
“Many countries have put out what I’ll call a sort of the ‘nomad visa’, where they allow people to come into the country and work remotely,” said Gandhi. “But other countries are not yet allowing that.”
When it comes to being taxed internationally, Gandhi said it would be a case-by-case basis depending on which country you work in, warning that Canadians need to be wary of facing “double taxation.”
According to her, some nations might have a “tax treaty” — an agreement between countries on how employees would be taxable — already in place to prevent a doubling up on tax payments.
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“If there isn’t a tax treaty with Canada, you could end up paying taxes not only in Canada but also that remote work country. You have to be very mindful of what the ramifications could be, including a big tax compliance burden,” she said.
Ultimately, Gandhi said that those wishing to work abroad need to be very aware of what laws await them in their host country, whether it be employment or immigration laws or a lack of a tax treaty for Canadians, to avoid doubling up on their taxes.
— With files from Jon Azpiri and The Canadian Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
'Trudeau is bad for Canada,' Singh says as Liberal leader asks progressives to unite – CBC.ca
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh launched his most pointed attack yet on his Liberal opponent today, saying Justin Trudeau is a failed leader who is “bad for Canada.”
Trudeau, meanwhile, dismissed the NDP as an unserious option, saying the NDP has presented a vague plan to spend $200 billion more over the next five years while offering few details.
“We think Mr. Trudeau is bad for Canada because he’s failed on the crises and made things worse, not better,” Singh said, condemning Trudeau for voting against non-binding NDP motions on pharmacare and long-term care homes.
Singh also pointed to higher greenhouse gas emissions and a tax system he said is skewed toward the “ultra rich.”
“He is bad for Canada. He was an abject failure,” Singh said of Trudeau.
WATCH: Singh says ‘Mr. Trudeau is bad for Canada’
With just three days left in the 44th general election, Singh and Trudeau are scrambling to shore up support among the progressive voters who could decide which party governs the country after Monday’s vote.
Trudeau wants a majority government. Singh, meanwhile, is trying to avoid a repeat of the last election — which saw NDP support crater, leading to a loss of 15 seats.
Trudeau said a vote for the NDP would amount to a vote for the Conservatives because vote-splitting could put Erin O’Toole in the Prime Minister’s Office. Singh said left-wing voters shouldn’t fall for Liberal pressure tactics.
“The Liberal Party is not only the only party that can stop the Conservatives, but we’re also the only party with a real plan to get things done,” Trudeau said, pointing to experts who have criticized the NDP’s climate plan as unrealistic.
“Progressives are quite rightly worried. I know there are a lot of people out there who are torn. You don’t have to make an impossible choice and vote strategically. You can actually vote for the party that is going to stop the Conservatives and move forward with the strongest plan to get things done.”
Trudeau prompted this election last month, saying the opposition parties have blocked the Liberal agenda by delaying government bills and disrupting the work of parliamentary committees.
WATCH: A roundup of where the leaders were on Day 34 of the campaign
Since the election call, Trudeau has been asked over and over to explain why he’s sending Canadians to the polls during the fourth wave of the pandemic. The CBC Poll Tracker suggests some Liberal supporters soured on Trudeau after the campaign launch — and the majority government the party wanted may now be out of reach.
When asked Friday how he’d handle another minority government, Trudeau said he’s asking voters to return as many Liberal MPs as possible to prevent that outcome.
Singh dodged questions today about the concessions he’d try to extract from the next government in exchange for NDP support on confidence motions.
Singh said he hasn’t given this much thought because he’s running to be prime minister. Polls suggest the NDP will be hard pressed to do better than third place, let alone form a government.
Asked today why his campaign has failed to catch on with more voters, Singh said the election isn’t over.
“We’re working hard and the Liberals often take people’s votes for granted,” he said. “I’m always prepared to work hard.”
U.S. senators push Biden to lift border closure with Canada – CBC.ca
Four U.S. senators on Friday asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have barred travel by Canadians across the northern U.S. border since March 2020.
Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Jon Tester of Montana and independent Angus King of Maine asked Biden to allow Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel to the United States before October.
The border state senators said in a letter the restrictions have led to “economic and emotional strain in our communities.”
The senators added: “A plan with some indication of when your administration would feel comfortable lifting border restrictions based on public health data would provide clarity to businesses and families along the northern border.”
They also noted that Canadians can fly to the United States. “We struggle to understand the public health rationale for the disparate treatment in modes of travel,” the senators wrote.
NEW: Today I sent a letter to <a href=”https://twitter.com/POTUS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@POTUS</a> urging him to lift restrictions on vaccinated Canadians’ travel to the U.S. by October. NH communities are hurting from the border’s continued closure – it’s time to create a plan to ease entry & get back to regular trade & commerce. <a href=”https://t.co/XzsCflA6QS”>pic.twitter.com/XzsCflA6QS</a>
The White House did not immediately comment on Friday, but White House coronavirus response co-ordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that given the delta variant of the coronavirus, “we will maintain the existing travel restrictions at this point.”
U.S. officials and travel industry executives say the White House is set to renew the restrictions before the latest extension expires on Sept. 21.
In August, the United States again extended restrictions closing its land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel such as tourism despite Ottawa’s decision to open its border to vaccinated Americans. Canada on Aug. 9 began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for non-essential travel.
The United States has continued to extend the extraordinary restrictions on Canada and Mexico on a monthly basis since March 2020, when they were imposed to address the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. land border restrictions do not bar U.S. citizens from returning home.
The United States separately bars most non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
Canada disputes Chinese news report that famous sailor was turned back from Northwest Passage – CBC.ca
Canadian officials are disputing reports in Chinese media that a sailor from that country attempting to circumnavigate the Arctic was turned back in the Northwest Passage.
On Monday, the state-owned China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported that Zhai Mo and his two-man crew travelling aboard a 25-metre solar-powered yacht had entered the Northwest Passage and were sailing across Baffin Bay.
CGTN reported Thursday that Zhai had been “illegally stopped” in the Lancaster Sound, an area not far from Greenland’s maritime border with Canada. The report said he would return to China via the Panama Canal.
Transport Canada told CBC News in an email on Friday that it was aware of Zhai’s vessel, but said “at this point, it has not entered Canada’s Arctic Waters.” Those waters have been off limits to foreign pleasure craft since March 2020 due to an interim order from the Canadian government intended to limit the risk of introducing COVID-19 in remote Arctic communities.
Transport Canada said it was in touch with Zhai via email to inform him of the rule.
“Transport Canada has since seen public reports that Captain Zhai Mo no longer plans to pass through Canadian Arctic waters and the department continues to monitor the situation,” the department said in a second statement to CBC News on Friday evening.
On the 76th day of the journey to circumnavigate the Arctic non-stop, Chinese captain Zhai Mo and his crew entered the Northwest Passage, marking the journey’s halfway point. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/China?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#China</a> <a href=”https://t.co/ofKgW3Z24z”>pic.twitter.com/ofKgW3Z24z</a>
Canada considers the Northwest Passage — a route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that weaves between the islands of Canada’s Arctic archipelago — part of its internal waters and subject to its laws, but the U.S. and some European countries dispute that claim.
China has not made its position on Canada’s control over the Northwest Passage clear. But a post to Zhai’s blog on the Chinese social media site Wiebo Thursday said “the international community generally believes that the Northwest Passage is a sea route used for international navigation” — meaning a right of free passage would apply under international conventions.
Zhai’s trip through the area was expected to last less than a week. But some experts say it nonetheless posed a challenge to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.
“[If] any … sailor that is eager to go through the Canadian Arctic can just do so without seeking permission … that in itself is a challenge to Canadian sovereignty,” said Andreas Østhagen, an Arctic expert with the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, a research foundation in Norway.
“It’s a challenge to the Canadian ability to be present in its own Arctic territories.”
New Zealander tried crossing Northwest Passage in 2020
Zhai would be the second sailor to attempt to circumvent the ban. In the summer of 2020, a sailor from New Zealand named Peter Smith tried to cross the Northwest Passage on a solo journey in a custom yacht, but was spotted by Nunavut land guardians and reported to Canadian authorities.
Transport Canada told CBC News it fined Smith for violating the ban, though it did not specify the amount.
Experts like University of Calgary political scientist Rob Huebert say controlling traffic in the Northwest Passage is key to Canada’s claim that they are internal waters — a claim disputed by the United States and other maritime powers that want commercial vessels to have a right of free passage on the route.
“Canada claims that the Northwest Passage are internal waters, and we do so so we can exert control over vessels that are not in our interest,” Huebert said.
In the case of vessels violating the ban, he argues, there are “clear security issues, and we should do everything we can to stop [them].”
Who is Zhai Mo?
Zhai is a professional painter, known in China for his impressionist art. Inspired by Paul Gauguin’s paintings of Tahitian women, he took up sailing so he could travel to the tropical island in the South Pacific.
In 2009, he became the first Chinese person to complete a solo, sail-powered circumnavigation of the world. Zhai claimed his non-stop, sail-powered circumnavigation of the Arctic would also be a first.
In interviews, Zhai has frequently framed his long voyages as a quasi-spiritual pursuit of artistic inspiration. He told the United Nations his Arctic journey was to “raise awareness about the links between climate change and land degradation.”
But Zhai has also at times used his journeys to advance China’s global ambitions.
In 2013, escorted by the Chinese coast guard, he sailed to contested waters in the East China Sea and planted 100 Chinese flags offshore of the disputed Senkaku/Daiyou Islands.
“Even though we were just a few people on a sailboat, we voiced our opinions to the people of Japan and other countries,” China’s Global Times quoted Zhai as saying. “We got there and we claimed our sovereignty.”
In 2015, he undertook a journey along the so-called Maritime Silk Road to advertise China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a policy designed to spread the country’s international influence through billions of dollars in global infrastructure investments.
Zhai’s journey through the Arctic, which kicked off in Shanghai on June 30, has likewise received extensive coverage in Chinese state-owned media, and particularly on CGTN, which has embedded cameras on board his ship and refers to Zhai as “our sailor.”
Zhai’s journey comes as China increases its efforts to project greater influence on a melting Arctic.
In 2018, with the publication of its Arctic strategy, China declared itself a “near-Arctic” state. Internally, it describes the Arctic as a region “ripe for rivalry and extraction,” according to an analysis by the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank.
Its proposed Polar Silk Road is to encourage greater commercial travel through the Arctic, and the China Ocean Shipping Company, which is sponsoring Zhai’s voyage, has already undertaken numerous test sailings of Russia’s Northern Sea Route, a passage that runs along the northern coast of Eurasia.
Polar experts like Østhagen doubt Zhai’s journey was a deliberate attempt to test Canadian claims to Arctic sovereignty. But it may serve other purposes for China’s Arctic ambitions.
“It is a national attempt by China to write itself into the Arctic’s history,” wrote Elizabeth Buchanan, an expert in polar geopolitics at Australia’s Deakin University.
A celebrated Chinese icon circumnavigating the Arctic would be a powerful symbol, Buchanan says, which could boost support for further actions in the region.
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