These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

This post is a reproduction of an article that was put together in 2009.  Even though the examples are several years old, nothing has changed where singles are consistently forced to pay more than families.  Many more examples can be found to replace these examples.


Fee Schedule

  • Standard Plan: Individual $65 Family $85
    Premium Plan: Individual $100 Family $130
    (Family is defined as two or more people and includes all members of a household)

Does this look like a fair plan?  The following information shows that this fee schedule is for a patient registration form from a local family doctor.  The fee schedule was put into place to cover uninsured services not covered by the provincial medical plan..  The uninsured services included:

  • telephone consultations
  • prescription renewals over the phone
  • completion of insurance forms, sick notes
  • medical supplies,
  • completion of school/camp forms, daycare notes
  • faxing/photocopying and transfer of medical records
  • pre-employment certificate of fitness
  • driver’s medical and physical examination form
  • citizen and immigration report
  • disability tax credit form
  • travel cancellation form
  • referral form for chiropractor and physiotherapy
  • referral note chiropody and massage
  • wart removal

The pay for service fee for any of these items ranged from low of $20.00 to high of $125.00.  The Standard Plan fee covered partial services of sick note, faxing and photocopying of medical records, back to work note, pre-employment certificate of fitness, referral  note for chiropractor and physiotherapy and referral  note for chiropody and massage.  The Premium fee covered all listed services.


  • QUESTION: Why are singles paying more than families in adult to adult person comparison? (note:  assumption being made is that kids are FREE)
  • QUESTION: Who will be using more services such as school/camp forms, daycare notes, sick notes (by virtue of fact there are more members who will be using these forms in a family?  ANSWER:  Families will be using more of these services, so why are singles paying more in proportion than families?
  • QUESTION: Who will be using more of all of the services listed?  ANSWER:  Families will be using more of the services since there are more members in the family unit. So, why are singles paying more in proportion adult to adult in the family unit?
  • QUESTION: Why are couples without kids and alternative lifestyle couples without kids (included under family category, not single category) allowed to benefit (pay less) over singles?  They usually have two incomes, while singles only have one income.

SUGGESTION FOR A FEE SCHEDULE THAT PROMOTES EQUALITY AMONG ALL MEMBERS OF SOCIETY – form a plan that bases the fee on number of adults (kids would be free).

  • Individual $65 – change to $50 for one adult (singles are one unit, only have one income)
  • Family $100 – leave as $100.  (This would ensure each adult in whatever family unit – husband/wife with kids and two incomes, husband/wife with no kids and usually two incomes, alternative lifestyle couples with/without kids and usually two incomes – would all be paying an equal amount per adult.  All kids would be FREE. Singles would not be subsidizing families.
  • Single Parent $50 – add new category (EVEN SINGLE PARENTS WITH KIDS ARE SUBSIDIZING FAMILIES WITH/WITHOUT KIDS AND ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE COUPLES WITH/WITHOUT KIDS.  Charging for the adult only would ensure that single parents who usually only have one income would not be subsidizing members of any type of family unit.  SINGLE PARENTS WITH KIDS AND ONE  INCOME SHOULD NOT BE PLACED IN SAME CATEGORY AS FAMILY UNITS WITH MORE THAN ONE INCOME!


Local family sports center fee for yearly membership fee is :

  • Family – $500 per year
  • Single – $300 per year

Once again singles/single parents with kids and one income are subsidizing all types of family units as described above who usually have two incomes.

A more appropriate schedule would be to charge per adult:

  • Family – $500 per year
  • Individual – $250 per year
  • Single parent with kids – $250 per year


Local library fee schedule for yearly membership is:

  • Family – $20
  • Adults (18+) – $15

A more appropriate schedule would be:

  • Family – $20
  • Individual – $10
  • Single parent with kids $10

Many more examples can be given where singles/single parents with children are at a disadvantage compared to families.  (I.e., weekly Superstore coupon worth $25 is given when $250 is spent.  How can a single/single parent with kids even begin to spend $250 each week on one income?)

Above examples (just a few!! Out of many) show how the rich keep getting richer and how lower and middle income families benefit the most while individuals/single parents with kids and single incomes are the financial losers!!

The above recalculation of fee schedules did not take rocket science.  It appears government and decision makers won’t or can’t use financial intelligence and simple mathematical statistical formulas to promote the financial rights and privileges for equality of all citizens regardless of marital status.

The irony of this recalculation is that the fee schedules based on adults  may bring in slightly less revenue, and in some cases would even bring in more revenue while promoting financial equality.

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.




These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

It seems governments, decision making bodies, families and married/coupled people have difficulty understanding that many singles are in as much financial distress as they are. They perceive singles to have spendthrift lifestyles and to be poor managers of their finances.  To show how untrue this is, five cases are presented here.  Four of the cases are employed singles or divorced persons; fifth case is a wealthy widower already retired.


Case 1-Tanis age 54, November 2, 2013, Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “Frugal Lifestyles Reaps Rewards” (business.financialpost)-Single 54 year-old (divorced in 2002, left with debt of $40,000 which she paid off in five years) has take-home income of $48,000 annually ($80,000 pretax?). Two children are financially independent.  She would like to retire between age 65 and 67.  To save, she buys clothes at thrift shops, has hair done by students and volunteers at events so she can see them without charge.  Assets $215,000 home, $75,000 vacation cottage $8,500 car, $149,925 RRSPs, line of credit $8,500, mortgages $201,374 with net worth of $239, 551.  She is anxious to sell vacation property as occasional rentals are not covering mortgage costs.  Article states she has turned frugality (financial distress) into a financial strategy.  Total monthly expenses are $3,996.  She has no money left for emergencies, replacement of vehicle, or other unexpected expenses like dental, vision care or medications.  Elimination of vacation condo mortgage, fees, insurance and line of credit would free up $1500 monthly for these financial realities. If she takes advice of financial planner (2013), she should have retirement income at age 66 comprised of $12,240 employee pension, CPP $10,840, OAS 7,008, investment income of $12,516 and $12,465 from other savings for total before tax income of $55,069 or $3,900 a month after 15% average income tax.

Case 2-Public Service Canadian employees in same job/wage categories with 2013 annual income around $67,000 for never married singles, no children (calculations may vary between provinces regarding tax and other deductions).  Approximate payroll , deductions include income tax $11,000, CPP and EI $3,200, union dues $900, public pension contributions $5,300, RRSP deductions $3,500, parking $1,200, health premiums and insurance $600, for total of $25,700.  This leaves $41,300 yearly take home income.

Case 3- Doris  age 63, October 12, 2013 Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “The choices:  Be a good grandma and poor or work and retire happy” (pressreader)-This generous 63 year old grandmother (divorced or single with a grown child?) has total before tax  income $47,600 ($41,600 annual earnings and receives $6,000 from roommate with whom she shares apartment). Car worth $3,000 and $10,000 line of credit for negative net worth of minus $7,000.  She is barely making ends meet now.   Monthly expenses are $3,100 per month.   Question asked: can she quit work at age of 63 and babysit granddaughter for $500 a month?  Answer is a definitive ‘no’.  She is better off to work to age 65 to get full job and Canada pensions and then could give $500.00 to daughter (who earns similar salary as her mother) to help with daycare costs.  Best financial situation is to work until age 70 to maximize her own pension and have extra money as contingency.  At age 70 she will have after tax income of $3,800 a month.  As a renter this single has to work well beyond age 65 to avoid poverty as a single senior.  (She is very generous.  If there is problem with expenses, should she be contributing $116 to her granddaughter’s RESP?  Also food budget is high at $375, but some of this might be for granddaughter and is renter paying for own food?)

Case 4–Georges age 51, August 15, 2015, Financial Post Financial Evaluation, “Should he buy first house at 51? (business.financialpost)-Georges is a production line supervisor who rents and has total net worth of $152,000.  Current after tax income is $50,244 or $4,187 per month.  Financial planner states that Georges’ problem is very simple; he cannot afford both to buy a home and build retirement savings.  Repeat:  this man, who has appearance of a responsible productive citizen working at supervisory level, is making $81,600 a year, but has been told that he cannot afford both.  Financial planner says alternatives are to buy smaller (translation cheapest) home or get better paying job. At age 65 and still renting, his projected before tax retirement income is $55,258 (with OAS at 67), and 22% tax, after tax income will be $3,590 a month with $949 surplus to do with whatever he wants.  How generous and fifteen years later his apartment will be how old with no refurbishments and likely increases in rent!!!  (Georges does have very high food and restaurant expenses.  Further economies could be achieved by reducing these expenses.  His travel costs also appear very high; however, there is no mention that he owns a vehicle so some of the travel costs may be for transit and taxi costs.  Living wage for Guelph and Wellington suggests  $221  for transit and taxi for a single person.)

Case 5-Philip  age 78, October 26, 2013 Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “Strategy:  Cut the taxman’s bite” (pressreader) -Widower 78 years old wants to keep as much as of his $1million net worth for his two sons, but can no longer pension income split.  His pre-tax income of $79,450 and taxable dividends puts him in danger of 2013 OAS clawback. The article states ‘that is unfair to every person who has taxable dividends and receives OAS.  In this case his sons will receive less inheritance.  It is the fact of life for every widow and widower.’  Wow, that really is a financial hardship for him (and his sons who will receive large inheritances)!!!  How the taxes were calculated for this person is not clear.  At one point, it is stated that taxes plus OAS clawback gives a total of 48% income tax payable.  Yet, his $66,000 income per month out of total $80,000 before tax income equals a deduction of only 18%.  After expenses, it is amazing that he is able to put $3,000 into his TFSA and savings accounts.

financial case profiles


  • Frugal financial lifestyle – Many singles are frugal because they have to be (Tanis).  Word ‘frugal’ used by financial planners respectfully describes financial distress of singles.  Why not call it was it is, a  poor financial quality of life?
  • Good incomes, but have difficulties living on them regardless if renting or paying  a mortgage– Some singles in these cases are making around $80,000 before tax income which is far above average before tax incomes of many singles and families in Canada.  The MoneySense 2015 All Canadian Wealth Test (wealth-test-2015-charts) (based on 2011 Statistics Canada data) shows that the top 20% quintile of unattached individuals have incomes over $55,499.  Unattached individuals in the middle 20% quintile have incomes from $23,357 to $36,859 and are considered to be middle class.  But are they able to live a middle class or wealthy lifestyle with these incomes?  If singles are having a hard time living on $50,000 plus incomes and are unable to max out their TFSA and RRSP accounts, there is something very wrong with financial systems for singles in this country (including lower income singles). Married/coupled people are quite often able to buy additional properties like rental and vacation properties, but then have to sell them (Case 1 – Tanis) when they become single because they can’t afford them.
  • Good incomes, but it doesn’t matter how much more singles make they still gain very little from increased income.  With every $20,000 increase in income they are lucky to get maybe extra $500 a month or $6,000 a year.  This is 30% gain in disposable income to 70% loss in deductions.  If Georges gets a higher paying job, he will likely be in a higher tax bracket. (added April 27, 2016)
  • Financial planners say it is not possible for singles to have a mortgage and save at the same time, can only do one or other.  They also tell single to get better paying jobs (but Case 4 – Georges already has a very good paying job at $81,000). – When singles are already working at very good salaried and management jobs earning $60,000 to $80,000, these are not $15 per hour jobs but $30 to $40 per hour jobs.  It is also bizarre when financial planners state these high paid singles are not able both to save for a house and save for retirement and should get better paying jobs ( Case 4 – Georges).  What does this mean, singles are only able to rent and cannot have mortgages except with $100,000 plus income jobs?  Another example is MoneySense April, 2016 “Budget Basics” (moneysense) – Lindsay is 29 year old engineering consultant from British Columbia who earns $71,000.  She owns an affordable $150,000 condo (housing costs are just 30% of her income which is nearly unheard of in British Columbia) and has $46,000 in RRSP and TFSA savings (saves 20% of her salary at $400 to her TFSA and $220 to her RRSP- RRSP is matched by her employer).   She wants to save for a bigger condo so she can have a dog and a garden.  The problem, though, is her expenses are surpassing her income.  She has $11,000 line of credit and $15,000 car loan.  The suggested financial action plan is to rethink her budget and to track her true expenses, subtract them from her net income and then reallocate what is left to savings.  She is in good financial shape, but she is trying to accomplish too many things at once (so stated in article).  In other words, it is very difficult for singles to have a mortgage and save at the same time even with good salaries.
  • What expenses are missing from budgets for most singles (can’t afford)? 
  • Dental, medical, medication
  • House maintenance
  • Extra monies for savings/emergencies
  • Restaurants/vacation/entertainment
  • Computer and repair, paper, ink
  • Replacement of vehicle
  • Other fees and expenses like library/recreation/fitness/magazines, books, etc.
  • Car license, registration, motor association fees
  • Professional association fees which can be very expensive depending on profession
  • Public Service single employees during employment or retirement are not as rich as everyone thinks – Singles with public service jobs (you know those people who make so much more than private sector employees and have outrageous pensions) often don’t have any more take home pay than private sector employees.  The public pension benefits must come from contributions during their working years leaving them financially stretched during their working years (this is not a bad thing as this is income being directed to savings).  Pensions on retirement are taxed at same rate as married persons and pension splitting is not available for singles.  Survivors pensions paid to widowers are subsidized by contributions of single employees.  Many singles with or without company pensions don’t have any more income in retirement than they had during employment.  If they are paying rent or mortgage they often are as poor during retirement and have no extra money for emergencies, replacement of vehicles and medical expenses.  (They may have a better quality of life during retirement if they own their own home and are not paying rent.  In these cases the only deductions public service individuals have any control over is the personal RRSP contribution).  Based on 15 year service as public service employee and rough calculation of retirement, take home income at age 65 is may be about $3,400 a month with rent or mortgage possibly not paid in full; therefore, these persons will have to draw from savings to pay expenses or work past the age of 65.
  • Unused RRSP and TFSA contributions – Most singles, unless they are wealthy, will have multiple unused room in RRSP and TFSA savings plans because of inability to max out contributions.
  • Married/coupled persons (many, not all) have unrealistic sense of entitlement and want it to continue throughout their lives from time of marriage to date of death – Case 5 – (business.financialpost) Philip wants to keep as much of his $1million net worth for sons’ inheritances, but doesn’t want OAS clawback on his income and taxable dividends.  Some married/coupled people with huge financial assets don’t want to give anything up (David 71 and Celeste 63, August 8, 2015, Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “Couple fears shift to pension income”) (business.financialpost).  If they have problems during retirement, how about selling their $355,000 USA condo and winter at home in Canada?  Herb and Isabel at age 37 have so much wealth, $1.8 million, they can take two year out of country vacation and retire early and wealthy even though they have two children (Herb and Isabel, August 22, 2015, Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “Vacation, Retirement hinge on real estate” business.financialpost).
  • Marital status or state of being married does not mean married people are any better at managing their financial affairs than singles (David and Celeste-need financial planning as disinterested investors with $ 1.9 million net worth, and Patricia 53, August 29, 2015, Calgary Herald, Financial Post Personal Finance Evaluation, “Debt clouds dreams of retirement at 60” who has monthly after tax income of $15,000) (pressreader).
  • Many married/coupled persons can retire before age 65, while most singles know they can’t retire until age 65 or beyond (Case 3 – Doris)
  • Shouldn’t financial systems be well planned to ensure all citizens (singles and young people) can live decent respectful financial lives without help from their parents and/or inheritances and without marital manna benefits?


Singles deserve same financial dignity and respect as married/coupled persons.  Singles need to be included in financial decision making and formulas at same level as married/coupled persons and families.

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

A past post (to-rent-or-own) on this blog discussed rental versus affordable housing for singles.  The final conclusion of this post was that it is more difficult to do either rental or home purchases for singles than it is for married/coupled persons.

Financial management persons will say that it is much cheaper to rent than to own and that one should probably rent if there are financial constraints.  The advice is good from a financial point of view; however, the impact of this advice does not take into account the psychological well-being of singles.

Rental housing often means that singles have to choose second best to married/coupled persons and families.  Financial constraints often means rental properties singles have to choose from will be located in noisy, high traffic areas with no views except a retail space or another apartment across the way.  As well, there may often be a lot of noise between units.  There may not always be a washer and dryer within the apartment.  This means renters may have to  go down the hall, down several floors or even outside the building to laundry facilities.  Coin-operated laundry within or outside the building are very expensive and inconvenient.

Rental  housing for singles often means small apartments with small or no balconies. Meanwhile, the average size house in Canada is approximately 1900 square feet  and growing and it seems buyers’ expectations are very high.  They want for starters granite countertops, gourmet kitchens, a bedroom for each child, more than one bathroom, a playroom for the kids, a media room for the family and a large patio and yard for the barbecue as well as a basement and a garage in a choice location.  As has been explained in a past post, families buying these houses will often pay less per square foot than singles will for their smaller housing purchases.  In addition to the physical aspects, families will probably get much more for their house in psychological  satisfaction and well-being than singles will with their small spaces.

Rental in senior year for singles and the poor often means very little is left for a good financial quality of life after the rent has been paid.

Families and financial planners need to look on the other side of fence as to how all this impacts singles.  Singles need pleasant surroundings, the ability to make choices in what appeals to them, and affordable housing, just like married/coupled persons and families. Somehow, the perception by society is that because singles are single, they need and deserve less than married/coupled persons and families for housing.

Rather than telling singles and the poor that rental is the only option for them, upside-down financing for housing where families and those with the ability to pay get more and pay less for housing (upside-down-affordable-housing) needs to change.

Affordable housing for singles, poor families and the homeless is becoming more and more difficult to achieve in many countries including Canada.  Outside the box thinking where singles are included in housing solutions, not just families, needs to be addressed for the psychological well-being of all persons regardless of marital status and income levels.

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

Who are the Canadian Snowbirds (Canadians who spend winter outside of Canada)? They are Canadians who spend up to approximately 182 days or six months out of Canada and in the United States each year usually during the winter season.

A new system is being implemented whereby Canadian snowbirds will be able to be tracked more easily for financial fraud during their snowbird stays.  Some snowbirds think they should be able to stay longer than six months in the USA.

According to MoneySense, ‘Follow the Flock South, October 8, 2013 moneysense more than one million Canadians age 55 and up lead lifestyle of snowbirds.

Avoiding the Snowbirds’ Trap’ thestar article states:

  • ‘that the study by the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research revealed that Florida’s five-million population over 55 swelled by more than a million people every winter, and 82 per cent of these snowbirds came from Canada.  The study stated that not only are the number of snowbirds continuing to increase, encouraged by the dollar and cheaper real estate, they are getting younger as baby-boomers retire.
  • There are trade-offs that have to be made.  The winter snowbirds have a large impact on life in Florida.  One of the complicating issues is that those people are only in the state for part of the year.
  • State and county governments responsible for roads and transportation are often caught in a quandary of whether or not to improve infrastructure to cope with the winter traffic jams, or plan around the six summer months when the snowbirds have left and roads, public transit, even retail malls are relatively deserted.  One key finding of the study was that 81 per cent or 500,000 snowbirds spending their winters in Florida actually own their secondary home in the sunshine state.
  • Canadians are the biggest foreign purchasers of U.S. residential real estate and own an estimated $50 billion worth in Florida alone.
  • There also has been talk about proposed USA legislation creating a Retirees Visa, increasing the current six-month limit on a winter stay for snowbirds to eight months.’

Canadians snowbirds make their presence felt:  spending $5 billion in 2012, just in the big-four sunshine states of Florida, Arizona, Texas and California alone according to the Canadian Snowbird Association. snowbirds

The following article give some interesting facts of Canadian real estate purchases in the USA:  ‘2015 Profile of Home Buying – Activity of International Clients (Residential) in USA-April/14 to Mar/15′ realtor.org

  • In April, 2014 to March, 2015 homes estimated to be sold to foreign buyers were approximately 209,000 with total sales estimated to be $104 billion.
  • Fourteen per cent were from Canada (29,260 sales) with sales of $11.2 billion ($382,775 per sale).  About 47% of Canadian buyers bought for vacation properties and 12% for vacation and rental.  Types of housing purchased include 46% detached homes, 35% condos, and 12% townhomes.  Remaining 7% were commercial, land and other purchases.  On average Canadian buyers purchased properties valued at $380,000 and about 73% were purchased on an all-cash basis.
  • Dollar value of Canadian sales for 2009 $8.9 billion, 2010 $17.1 billion, 2011 $13.0 billion, 2012 $15.9 billion, 2013 $11.8 billion, 2014 $13.8 billion.
  • Fifty per cent of sales were in the four states of Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.
  • Foreign buyers tended to be upscale buyers (all buyers, not just Canadian) who paid overall USA average house price of $499,600 compared to average USA house price of about $255,600.
  • An average of 8% of USA residents were interested in buying in Canada in 2015.


According to Statistics Canada there were approximately 5 million seniors age 65 and over in 2011.  About 47% are in family unit of two or more persons, the rest are singles and widowers.

One could probably estimate that most of the Canadian snowbirds are families as singles are less likely to be able to purchase a second home and stay in the USA for six months of the year. (See MoneySense All-Canadian Wealth Test below).   Forty-seven per cent of the 5 million Canadian seniors equals about 2,350,000 family units.  If 80% or 500,000 Canadians own second homes in Florida alone, that is a lot of money flowing out of Canada to the USA (another 20% of Floridian snowbirds do not own second homes in Florida).


While wealthy Canadians are able to buy second homes and spend six month of the year outside the country, singles, poor families and the poor are left behind to support the country with money they don’t have.

One could say that if Canadian governments placed financial values for the country as one of their priorities, they would certainly not give future approval for outside the country stays over six months and they would maybe even shorten the stay to three or four months (added Arpil 26, 2016).

Yes, snowbirds still pay annual income taxes and property taxes, but  their houses are likely sitting empty for half the year.  Yes, they are not taking jobs away from USA citizens, but they also are taking their money away from Canada and spending it in the USA. Comments listed at the end of this post shows how entitled these rich snowbirds feel with no regard to what is happening financially to the country of which they are citizens.  (The last comment is one of better ones).

‘Money Sense “All Canadian Wealth Test’ 2009’ moneysense – Quote:  While incomes are far from equal, wealth is even more unbalanced. The richest 20% of Canadian households control about 69% of the wealth in Canada. The next quintile down possesses a further 20% of the net worth. Not much is left over for other people. The bottom 60% of households control only 11% of Canada’s wealth. In fact, the bottom fifth of the population possess no wealth and actually owe a few thousand dollars more than they own.

Families of Two or more Income 2015 MoneySense All Canadian Wealth Test (based on 2011 data) moneysense.2015

Upper-middle 20% quintile      $88,075 to $125,009

Highest 20% quintile                $125,010 and up

Families of Two or More Wealth 2015 MoneySense All Canadian Wealth Test (based on 2011 data)

Upper-middle 20% quintile       $589,687 to $1,139,488

Highest 20% quintile                 $1,139,489 and up

Above amounts are misleading as they include single parents with children.  If these persons are removed from the totals, net worth is probably much higher.

The Upper-middle 20% quintile of unattached individuals had a net worth of $128,068 to $455,876 and the Highest 20% quintile $455,877 and over.  (Does this include widowers? If it does, they are more likely to have greater net worth than ‘ever’-never married, no kids singles or early in life divorced/separated singles.)

The number of census families in Canada—married couples, common-law couples and lone-parent families equalled about 9.4 million families in 2011.

According to Statistics Canada there were approximately 4,945,055 seniors aged 65 and over in Canada in 2011.

Senior families of two or more persons comprise about 44% of the population, singles 13% and widowers 43%.

Opinion comments submitted by readers in response to the articles

From “Crooked Canadian Snowbirds risk losing their benefits under new security program” bnn.ca/News

-’Crooked Canadian Snowbirds??? Gimme a break.. The snowbirds you are talking about worked hard, saved and now are just wanting to enjoy some winters away from the cold and wet before the rising cost of health insurance keeps them hostage in Canada.  They are not taking any jobs from Americans and are not impairing the Canadian economy in anyway; cut them slack and stop making them out as criminals.


-By leaving the country for more than six months, you are spending your money elsewhere and not on the Canadian economy.  You will also lose health benefits such as the provincial health care that is free to Canadian citizens.  If you leave the country for more than six months, you should not be able to retain these benefits.  These are all costly benefits paid into and by taxpayers that should not be taken advantage of by anyone…Winter is only for six months.  I am one of those who runs away from winters, and that is more than enough time!!!’

From “Canadian Snowbirds Risk Losing Benefits under New Exit-Tracking System” snowbirds

-Snowbirds that spend six months in warmer countries pay for all year health care fees (British Columbia), income tax, property tax, but only use it for six months.  The government should be happy with it.  Nobody is exploiting the system.  Seniors have worked all their lives to pay for what the younger generation has now, so now it is time for the younger generation to pay for the next one and leave seniors alone.  They did their jobs and paid their dues.


-I used to work for (government) investigations and at that time we were uncovering $10 of fraud for every $1 spent on detecting it.  So you would have expected that the Government would hire more investigators until the ratio became 1-1.  However, it is difficult to convince voters that the government can save money by hiring more public servants.


-Provided they also go after rich tax cheats and their offshore tax havens, I’m fine with this.  It’s a myth that if you pay into a program, you’re automatically entitled to a benefit.  You’re only entitled to the benefit if you meet the criteria…in this case, the criteria is that you physically be in Canada for a certain portion of every year.  The programs are most often income supplements…not ‘retire in the sun’ strategies.  To think otherwise is the ultimate ‘entitlement mentality’.


-I will be judged for smamming my parents here, but this fits them to a tee.  Many years ago retired…early.  Moved from northern community to a border community.  Shop over the border every single day for everything.  They go to Florida 6 months a year.  Then come home and complain about Canada for the other 6 months.  We discussed (if one could call it) this once.  My parents were once proud Canadians.  Started with little, had children, used all the services available to them, for us.  As soon as they got what they needed.  BOOM.  Repubs overnight.  ‘Why should I pay for health care taxes for someone else?  We are never here’. Reminding them that they were part of the systems they used, while they were a young family fell on deaf ears. Children are not born selfish and greedy.  They are taught these terrible qualities.  I do agree we should be going offshore hunting for tax evaders, but this is a serious issue as well.  I remember suggesting to them ‘Why don’t you just move down there full time’?  Verbatim – ‘We will lose all our pension and health’.  Fools!’

End of comments.

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

(This opinion letter was published in a local newspaper on April 13, 2016)

The Calgary Herald April 9, 2016 article “Thinking inside the box” is an enlightening article on the financial plight of singles in regards to affordable housing.

This article describes how a San Francisco man has created a private sleeping space in the living room of an apartment he shares with other roommates.  He sleeps in a wooden box that is eight feet long, four and a half feet tall and probably about five or six feet wide. Inside this box is a twin bed, a fold-up desk and some LED lights.  A fan and built-in ventilation help air travel  through.  He has spent $1300 for materials.  He is also working on fully soundproofing its walls.  One wonders what the owner of apartment thinks of this ‘renovation’.

This man apparently is gainfully employed as a freelance illustrator whose work has appeared in the New Yorker.  To his credit and frugality, he has a positive attitude and readily admits he is not in dire financial straits, but has developed the box as a creative solution so that he can have a ‘private’ bedroom rather than sleeping on the couch.

In San Francisco where affordable housing is futile, one-bedroom apartments rent for median of $3,670 per month.  The article states that his roommates live in conventional bedrooms paying about $1,000 per month.  He pays $400 and has full access to the amenities of the apartment.  He calls his bedroom space a ‘pod’.   Total number of bedrooms in this apartment are not stated.

The housing situation for singles in Canada is no better.   High-rise condos in Toronto average about $455,000.  Going rental price for one-bedroom condos in local town appears to be $1,300.

It appears that desired results have been achieved for what married/coupled persons and families think are appropriate for singles.  Singles can now sleep in spaces that are less than one hundred square feet in size.  It seems these same people no longer consider singles to be their children or part of the family.  Instead, the state of business has overtaken the value of family to the point of unadulterated greed.

Singles deserve better in affordable housing solutions.  When they talk to government, decision makers and families about lack of affordable housing, they are met with anger, shunning and deaf ears.  They are given the response that it is ‘what the market can bear’.

Every adult with marital status of being single deserves a living wage and a dignified place to live that is equal to adults in families.  Every adult with marital status of being single deserves to be included in financial formulas that are equal in benefits to adults in families. Every adult with marital status of being single and and part of a family unit deserves to be treated with same financial dignity and respect as married/coupled children of the family unit.


Singles are continually told by married/coupled persons and families that they can move in with someone else if they have financial constraints.

What is most ironic with the publication of this opinion letter is that another opinion letter was published on this same date in this same newspaper by the owner of a condo villa (which is much larger in square footage) discussing how owners need to be careful about reviewing contract details when purchasing.  Examples are sodding versus ‘naturescaping’, mulch or rocks and liabilities of people falling or using skateboards on sidewalks which are the private property of the condo.

While these are valid concerns, the juxtaposition of singles deserving affordable housing versus owners of expensive large condo villas is striking.

Postscript added May 25, 2016 – There can be no doubt that there is a housing crises for Canadian singles and the poor when information such as the following is published in local media and newspapers:  ‘A shortage of affordable housing is partially to blame for a number of ads offering discounted or free rent in exchange for sex, an advocate says’. (affordable-housing-behind-some-sex-for-rent-schemes)

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

The Lost Dollar Value entered in posts to date (updated April 28, 2018) have been collected and are itemized below.  Description of Lost Dollar Value item as well as the date of the post in which item was described are given below the table.

lost dollar value table2018

  1. Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) Boondoggle (November 8, 2015 post) 2015/11/08/tfsa – If age 25 to age 65 or forty years and annual contribution of $5,000 is calculated for maximum contribution of TFSA that can be used by spouse number two, then calculated lost dollar value equals $200,000 ($5,000 times 40 years.  This does not include amounts lost through compound interest and investment potential.)
  2. Real Estate Upside down finances (November 21, 2015 post) 2015/11/21 – For a 700 square foot condo where price is $50 more per square foot than lowest price of largest condo in complex, it can be assumed that the purchaser will be paying $35,000 more than purchaser’s base price of largest condo; if the price per square foot is $100 more per square foot then purchaser will be paying be paying $70,000 more; if the price per square foot is $150 more per square foot then purchaser will be paying $105,000 more and so on. The amount of house and education taxes, real estate fees and mortgage interest will also incrementally increase.  For Lost Dollar Value $50 per square foot including gestimate loss for taxes and real estate fees, interest charges will be used as the example.
  3. Targeted tax relief-Senior singles pay more (December 5, 2015 post) 2015/12/05/senior-singles-pay-more – Since it costs ‘ever’ single and divorced/separated seniors with rent or mortgage about 70% – 75% of married/couple seniors’ income, lost dollars of 70% for $20,000 extra that married/coupled seniors get tax free or $6,000 per year (age 65 to 90) will be added to the list.  Total value of dollars lost will be $150,000 or $6,000 times 25 for years age 65 to 90).
  4. Inheritances  (December 30, 2015 post) 2015/12/30/inheritances– A value of $100,000 lost will be added to the list.  This is probably grossly understated since, first, inheritances are likely higher than $100,000, and second, the rule of 72 growth has not been added since it is not possible to calculate.  (However, using rule of 72, a rate of return of 3.5 per cent would double the original $100,000 in twenty years.) 
  5. Pension Splitting (January 31, 2016 post) lostdollars/2016/01/31– From estimate on income splitting described in research (lop.parl.gc.ca), it has been suggested that income splitting would provide tax relief of $103 for income $30,000 or less and $1,832 for income of $90,000 and over or an average of $794 overall.  If $800 ($794 rounded off) is calculated times 25 years (age 65 to 90), then Lost Dollar Value will equal $20,000 (value revised April 14, 2016).
  6. Reward Programs (March 10, 2016 post) 2016/03/10/reward-programs– A ’lost dollar value’ for singles of $240 fuel rebate for total of 12 months) will be used.   The only ‘lost dollar value’ that will be added to the list is the fuel rebate as this is the only constant available and easily calculated for an entire year.  (Lifetime total, age 25 to 85, $240 times 60 years equals $14,000).
  7. Employment Insurance (April 6, 2016 post) 2016/04/06/employment-insurance– For a person (‘ever’ single and married/coupled persons without children) who has been gainfully employed for forty years and paid an average gestimate of $900.00 of EI per year (which is now at a maximum of $930.60 per year), the lifetime Lost Dollar Value would be $36,000 per person. (Review of data shows that over last couple decades, EI premiums have been as low as approximately of $800.00 per year to a high of over $1,000 per year.)
  8. Canadian Pension Plan death benefits (CPP) (added April 28, 2018) (financial-death benefits) – Estates of singles never married, no kids who die, including tragic deaths, before receiving  (CPP) benefits may forfeit huge dollar value of CPP contributions.  In just ten years of employment with maximum $2,500 annual CPP contributions or $25,000, deceased single person’s estate will only receive a $2,500 death benefit.  Total of $22,500 contribution is forfeited to be used by the survivors of married or coupled households. Imagine what the total might be for forty years of CPP contributions (?$90,000)! 


  • Extra surcharges for fees like library, recreational, gyms, hotel rooms, etc.
  • Extra surcharges for cruises (can be as high as 150 to 200 %).  Some cruises have now added solo cabins, some as small as 100 square feet, which shows that singles are still seen as less than equal to married/coupled persons.
  • Freebies for families like free children’s meals
  • Gifts – family of four as a single unit will receive more monetary value from gifts given by parents, grandparents, etc. than a single person living in a single unit.  This may not necessarily be a bad thing.  All that is being said is that singles over a lifetime will receive less in monetary value from gifts than families.  The same can be said for giving gifts – singles may spend more in giving obligatory gifts without receiving same monetary value back.


While married/coupled people often don’t realize financial benefits they have over singles and families will argue over and over again on how expensive it is to raise children ($250,000 per child), it is also very expensive to be single when financial benefits are taken away or left out by omission for singles.  Canadian singles possibly actually lose the equivalent of raising two children as seen in calculations presented above (and the list is not even complete yet)!  And, in fact, many of the values are probably under reported!

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

There has been much discussion lately about Employment Insurance (EI) in Canada particularly in those provinces who have been hit hard by the crash in oil prices.

There is also much that is unequal in how EI is paid out and the ruling Liberal party has stated that they will be looking at reforming the EI system.  One example is most Albertans need 700 hours of work to qualify for EI in sharp contrast to the 420 hours of work required for most Atlantic Canadians.

With inequities in how EI is paid out, one also needs to look at how much EI is paid out for maternity/paternity leaves.  It is very difficult to find statistics on how much EI is paid out for maternal/paternal leave versus that paid for the rest of the population (those who have lost their jobs).

Current Rules

EI maternity benefits are offered to mothers who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. The 15 weeks can start as early as eight weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.

EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits.

Many companies top up their EI benefits for maternal/paternal benefits to one year.

Who pays for EI?

Every employed person pays EI premiums up to maximum of $930.60 per year (in 2015) plus employer contributions.

How are EI dollars used in maternal/paternal leaves?

For maternal/paternal EI leave, all things being equal, it is understood that each working parent will pay EI premiums.

One could say that with the birth of two children, the EI premiums paid by each parent have been used up.  With the birth of each additional child after two children, the parents have not only used up their EI premiums and are now drawing from the EI system that has been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.  In addition, if they are unemployed and have used EI premiums for two children, they again are drawing monies from the EI system that have been paid for by their employers and other Canadians.

Now consider those persons who have paid EI premiums, have never had any children and have been gainfully employed throughout their entire lives without drawing any EI benefits.  These persons are supporting/subsidizing those parents who have taken maternal/paternal leaves for their children.

Singles are forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits for not only one generation, but possibly two generations (if single works from age 25 to 65 years, span of 40 years could mean paying for more than one generation).  In addition to being forced to help pay for maternity/paternity benefits, there is the expectation to contribute to wedding/baby shower gifts for fellow generations (again could possibly be for more than one generation), but singles never get anything in return.  (This paragraph was added to post on April 20, 2016).


The Liberal party, with the present crash in oil prices, has actually used some outside the box thinking and given extra EI benefits to those older employees who have never used EI benefits in the past.  Long-tenured workers in the 12 regions identified in the budget as suffering the sharpest jumps in joblessness will be eligible for an extra 20 weeks of benefits to a maximum of 70 weeks.

Another outside the box thinking idea should be rebating at least some EI premiums back to senior employees without children who have never used EI benefits throughout their working lives.  They deserve as much for having supported families for many, many years.


For a person (‘ever’ single and married/coupled persons without children) who has been gainfully employed for forty years and paid an average of $900.00 per year (which is now at a maximum of $930.60 per year), the Lost Dollar Value would be $36,000 per person.(Updated April 10, 2016 as review of data over a couple of decades reveals EI amounts have been as low of approximately $800.00 to high of over $1000.00.)

ADDENDUM  (April 7, 2016)

For some who have applied for EI benefits this can be a demoralizing process, particularly if the person processing the application on the other side of the table is not very helpful. Families using EI for maternal/paternal  benefits do not have to face these obstacles.

‘Ever’ singles (never married, no kids) are never recognized or thanked for the contributions they have made to support families, one big contribution being EI benefits.  Adding insult to injury, all political parties over the years have used extra EI monies collected from employees and employers to pad budgets not related to EI.

“Ever’ singles in their senior years face huge obstacles in attaining the same financial standard of living as families and married/coupled persons because they are always forced to pay more and get less.  They also are not given the same level of benefits such as pension splitting which can provide thousands of dollars in tax savings for married/coupled seniors.

Financial fairness for ‘ever’ singles requires outside the box thinking.  One idea would be to give ‘ever’ senior singles a $2,000 or $3,000 annual totally refundable tax credit that would provide an extra $200-$300 per month to compensate for the EI monies they have given to families over the years.  (It would be very easy to identify ‘ever’ singles as marital status  is a required piece of information on tax returns.)

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.



These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.

In the discussion of financial discrimination of singles, it is useful to look at the history of financial discrimination.  Two women who were strong advocates of financial equality were Marie Babare Edwards and Vivien Kellems.

Marie Babare Edwards (January 2, 1919-December 31, 2008) , was a psychologist who helped pioneer a “singles pride” movement in the 1970s through her book (co-author Eleanor Hoover), “The Challenge of Being Single,” and workshops she taught died two days before her 90th birthday.  Her 1974 book included a “A Singles’ Lib Manifesto” and spelled out the unfair costs of being single in taxes, the workplace, insurance, and housing.

Divorced after 11 years of marriage and rearing her 9-year old son alone, Edwards found herself suddenly in sync with a third of the adult U.S. population that was single — then 43 million people.

Edwards became a zealous advocate for equal social status for the never or formerly married.

Kay Trimberger, a sociologist and author of “The New Single Woman” (2005), called Edwards forward-thinking, “a pioneer, writing about the social issues of singles before it was popular. For that reason, her writing sort of got lost.”

Edwards considered the book and seminars through most of the 1970s, “my most significant contribution as a psychologist,” she later wrote, because she helped “individuals and institutions appreciate singlehood as an alternate and viable lifestyle.” (She was an extrovert who came close to remarrying several times.)  (latimes)

Vivien Kellems (1896-1975), tax resister, feminist,  industrialist and runner as a senator, fought for numerous causes during her lifetime. While she believed in equality for women (in the workplace and in the home), and she proved an avid supporter of a woman’s right to vote.  However, some of her most contentious fights were  Kellems’ highly publicized battles with the Internal Revenue Service(IRS).

Already a prominent industrialist in Connecticut, she waded into the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment.  In stating her case, she put forward her own brand of individualist feminism. By contrast, many “social feminists” at the time such as Eleanor Roosevelt opposed the ERA because it would strike down “protective legislation” for women. In 1943, Kellems asked “what are you going to do with all these women in industry? If we’re good enough to go into these factories and turn out munitions in order to win this war, we’re good enough to hold those jobs after the war and to sit at a table to determine the kind of peace that shall be made, and the kind of world we and our children are going to have in the future.”

In the years that followed, Kellems continued to battle the IRS.  Protesting that tax laws unfairly penalized unmarried individuals, Kellems never filled out another tax return. She, instead, signed blank returns every year and sent them to the IRS. She continued her fight for tax law reform right up until her death in 1975. (connecticuthistory and historynewsnetwork)


Kellems’  fight for financial equality covered several decades, notably the 1940s to the 1970s.  Marie Babare Edward’s book in 1974 was published about forty years ago.

So how far have we come in the last sixty to seventy years in eliminating financial discrimination of singles (‘ever’ singles and early divorced)?

In Canada, while we do have equality in taxes being equal for individuals regardless of marital status, we do not have equality in singles receiving benefits equal  to marital  benefits and equal inclusion in financial formulas with married/coupled persons and widowers.

Much work still needs to be done.  The question is how many more decades is it going to take to have true financial equality for singles?

This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.