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Apr 21, 2015 at 01:00 AM

Welcome to my online office. I have set up this website to give you a chance
to interact with me directly and to learn a little bit more about my work to
Stand Up for St. Catharines in Ottawa. I hope you will take the time to read
my blog, check out the community calendar and look at the services available
through my Community Office. Most of all, I hope you will take the time to
communicate your ideas and concerns by commenting on my blog, voting for the
online polls or sending me an e-mail. This website is here for you, so
please share your thoughts and ideas.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Rick Dykstra

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage


Hundreds of thousands of families not currently registered for the enhanced child care benefit
Apr 20, 2015 at 01:08 PM

The Government of Canada looking for hundreds of thousands of families not currently registered for the enhanced child care benefit

Many of the families that are eligible to receive money under the Harper Government’s proposed enhanced Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) are at risk of not receiving the benefit unless they apply. The federal government today asked for help from the media and the public to encourage families to apply for the benefit.

The majority of families with children, approximately 3.8 million, are known and will automatically receive the enhanced UCCB or be contacted by the Government to confirm their information. However, many eligible families are not currently captured by the Government’s UCCB system and may miss out on receiving money that is owed to them unless they apply. In 2015 alone, this represents potentially millions of dollars in unclaimed benefits.

Under the proposed enhancements to the UCCB, families would receive almost $2,000 per year for each child under 6 and $720 per year for each child aged 6 through 17. The new benefit amounts would be retroactive to January 1, 2015 and be reflected in monthly payments to families in July 2015. The proposed enhancements to the UCCB are expected to more than double the number of families that benefit from 1.6 million to more than 4 million.

If your family is not currently receiving the UCCB, has never received the UCCB, or has never applied for the Canada Child Tax Benefit and you still have children under 18 in your care, please go to www.canada.ca/taxsavings in order to find out how you can apply.

Quick Facts

  • All families with children will benefit from the new Family Tax Cuts and Benefits Plan, which includes the Family Tax Cut, and enhancements to the UCCB, Child Care Expense Deduction and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.
  • Combined with tax relief introduced by the Government of Canada since 2006, a typical family of four can receive up to $6,600 in tax relief and enhanced benefits in 2015.
  • Low- and middle-income families will receive two-thirds of the overall benefits provided by the Government of Canada’s new family measures.
  • The Family Tax Cut will eliminate or significantly reduce the difference in the federal tax payable by a one-earner couple relative to a two-earner couple with a similar family income.

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Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards: Rick Dykstra Encourages Nominations
Apr 15, 2015 at 01:01 PM

Employment and Social Development Canada

Rick Dykstra is reminding community members that the call for nominations for the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards was recently announced by the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada, on behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada. The call for nominations is open from April 13 to June 30, 2015.

The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards consist of 17 awards in total: 15 regional awards – three awards for each of five regions across Canada (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, British Columbia and the North), and two national awards. Discover the award categories and submit a nomination today through the Prime Minister’s website: www.pm.gc.ca/awards.

Recipients are recognized at an award ceremony and choose an eligible not-for-profit organization to receive a grant for $5,000 (regional award) or $10,000 (national award).

Quick facts

  • The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards recognize individuals and organizations that use innovative ideas and approaches to address social challenges. Working in partnership, businesses, individuals and organizations can develop creative ways to strengthen their communities.
  • Volunteerism is an important part of what makes Canada such a great country. In 2013, 12.7 million Canadians or 44% of people, aged 15 years and older, participated in some form of volunteer work.
  • In 2013, Volunteers devoted almost 2 billion hours to their volunteer activities, or the equivalent of about 1 million full-time jobs.

The contribution of Canadians through volunteerism is invaluable. Let’s make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed and that they receive the recognition they deserve. You are encouraged to nominate deserving volunteers, businesses or not-for-profit organizations for a Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award today.


Government of Canada Announces New Measures to Protect Consumers and Entrepreneurs
Apr 13, 2015 at 04:04 PM

Small businesses to benefit from improvements to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry

April 13, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance

Finance Minister Joe Oliver today released an update to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada, delivering on a commitment made in 2014 to help make life more affordable for Canadians and entrepreneurs. Following consultations with stakeholders, these new changes will make the Code even stronger by addressing unfair business practices and improving transparency for merchants and consumers, including new provisions that apply specifically to mobile payments. Participants in the debit and credit card market will have until 30 days from the issuance of this news release to review and adopt the enhanced Code of Conduct.

The Code was launched in 2010 to promote fair business practices and ensure that merchants and consumers understand the costs and benefits associated with credit and debit cards. Every time merchants accept a credit card payment from a customer, they pay fees. Like any other business cost, these fees are often passed on as costs to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Minister Oliver also released Balancing Oversight and Innovation in the Ways we Pay: A Consultation Paper, seeking the views of Canadians on the best approach to ensure that new electronic payment methods are safe and provide adequate consumer protection, while allowing innovation that benefits Canadians.

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says that the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada “has served merchants extremely well….[It] has done an excellent job in ensuring some fair ground rules and maintaining Canada’s low-cost debit system.”
  • CFIB adds that “the Code played a big role in saving low-cost debit in Canada and it gave merchants some degree of power in dealing with the payments industry.”

The updated Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada includes:

  • A new requirement that the interchange rate reductions announced by Visa Canada and MasterCard Canada in November 2014 will be fully passed-through to merchants, or merchants can cancel their contract without penalty;
  • A new complaints handling process available to merchants with Code-related complaints;
  • Enhanced disclosure requirements that will require plain language disclosure in information summary boxes in merchant contracts of key contract terms and conditions and merchant fees;
  • Greater flexibility for merchants to exit their contracts without penalty, including a right to provide notice of non-renewal at any point up to 90 days prior to contract expiry, and limiting automatic renewal of contracts to six-month increments;
  • A new disclosure requirement for credit card issuers, to inform consumers that apply for premium credit cards that the use of these cards can impose higher merchant fees;
  • New branding requirements for premium cards, to make these cards more easily identifiable to merchants at the point of sale;
  • New consumer protections for mobile payment users, to ensure that consumers will have full and unrestricted control of the default settings on their mobile wallets and devices;
  • New protections for merchants who choose to stop accepting mobile payments.

The Government is releasing Balancing Oversight and Innovation in the Ways we Pay: A Consultation Paper, seeking the views of Canadians on the national payment system, recognizing that:

  • Every year, Canadians make roughly 24 billion payments, worth more than $44 trillion;
  • According to the Bank of Canada, between the early 1990s and 2011, the share of cash used in point-of-sale transactions dropped from more than 80 per cent of the total volume and 50 per cent of the total value, to less than 50 per cent of the volume and less than 20 per cent of the value of these transactions;
  • The Canadian Payments Association estimates that there were 24 million e-wallet and electronic person-to-person transactions in 2011, worth nearly $10 billion, up from $3 billion in 2008;
  • The Task Force for the Payments System Review found in its December 2011 final report that a thoroughly modernized payments system could save the Canadian economy as much as 2 per cent of gross domestic product in productivity gains, equal to $32 billion in annual savings for Canada;
  • Core clearing and settlement systems are currently subject to regulation and oversight for safety, soundness and efficiency purposes. However, this oversight does not fully extend to national payment systems. As a result, the system as a whole is not currently subject to comprehensive and consistent rules that protect consumers and ensure public confidence in the use of electronic payment methods.

"I am pleased to announce major improvements to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada. For merchants, these changes mean more transparency, more flexibility and more choice. Consumers will be getting the exact same—and paying less for the necessities of life. These changes mean more money in Canadians’ pockets and competitive retail markets, benefitting all Canadians."

- Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance

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