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How new tax benefit notices are making life easier

(NC) With newly designed tax benefits correspondence from the Canada Revenue Agency, it’s now easier than ever to find what you’re looking for. Now, all the information you need is all on the first page.

As part of an initiative to improve the way it serves and communicates with Canadians, the CRA made changes to the readability, design, and accessibility of its correspondence in both paper and electronic formats. The new correspondence was also tested with real Canadians to make sure that the design was functional and that the message was clear.

In July 2016, the CRA started sending its simplified notices for the Canada child benefit and the goods and sales tax/harmonized sales tax credit. Each piece of benefit correspondence provides specific information on your tax situation, including your tax obligations and personalized benefits information. The most important information is clearly set out with the account summary displayed on the first page. The simplified text makes it easier to understand why you received the correspondence, and what action, if any, is required.

The CRA’s online services are also simplifying things, with a self-service portal that includes direct deposit options and assistance for people with hearing or visual impairments. There is even a MyBenefits CRA App.

Whether you apply for, receive, or owe money related to your benefits notices, the important information is now easier to find and understand. Keep an eye out for more changes to your notices in the next few months.

Learn more about changes to CRA correspondence at www.cra.gc.ca/noticesandletters.


Top 5 back-to-school health essentials

(NC) With children across the country gearing up to begin another year of school, what better time to explore some ideas to help ensure your child gets off to a healthy and happy start? Here are the top five back-to-school health tips to consider.

  1. Set bedtimes. It’s essential for kids (and adults) to get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throug hout the day. Although sleep requirements vary somewhat among individuals, most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night, and children and adolescents typically need more than eight hours to fuel growth spurts as well as developing bones and muscles. Rather than have them feeling groggy in the morning and getting upset when they oversleep, encourage earlier bedtimes for adequate rest.
  2. Teach good hygiene habits. With so many people around, germs are bound to be lurking in classrooms. To help your kids avoid getting sick — and prevent them from bringing viruses home — it’s important to show them how to protect themselves. Teach them to wash their hands after using the washroom and before going to lunch or eating a snack. A travel-sized hand sanitizer is great in a pinch if you can’t get to a washroom, but don’t overdo it — using a disinfectant too much can lower your natural defenses.
  3. Stock up on healthy foods. It might be easy to pack your kids’ lunches with premade snacks, but a healthy diet is of the utmost importance and junk foods don’t fit into the equation. Make it easier for yourself by stocking up on healthy grab-and-go foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread, and nuts. For meals, stick to lean proteins like turkey and legumes.
  4. Manage stress. Ward away tension and anxiety by encouraging your little ones to exercise regularly in a way they enjoy, whether it’s rollerblading, biking, team sports, or walking around the park playing Pokémon Go. Teach them proper deep “belly” breathing and that a healthy balance of work and play is best.
  5. Stock up your medicine cabinet. Save yourself a last-minute dash to the pharmacy by keeping your medicine cabinet well-stocked for all the scrapes, bruises, fevers, and stuffy noses your child is bound to get. For children ages, one month and up, Coryzalia relieves common cold symptoms and is available in easy-to-administer drinkable unit-doses that are sugar, dye, and preservative-free. For a homeopathic cough remedy, Stodal (available in both Regular Honey Formula and Sugar-Free) is a cough syrup used to effectively relieve both dry and wet coughs in adults and children as young as one.

Keep in mind these homeopathic medicines may not be right for everyone. Always read and follow the label.