As an international student wishing to study in Canada, you will likely need to apply for a student visa.

Student Visa Applications

As an international student wishing to study in Canada, you will likely need to apply for a student visa. A student visa is not required if your course of study is to be less than 6-months, you are part of a foreign armed force, or your parent is on the staff of a foreign representative. Otherwise, applying for and obtaining the visa is a process that can be done online. A Toronto immigration lawyer from Affinity Law can help you by diligently administering the process of filing the documents. We can also assist if you have been rejected on an earlier application by examining the reasons for the rejection and appealing it.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Provide proof of sufficient funds that you can pay for the following:
  • Tuition
  • Living expenses for you and any family members who are accompanying you
  • Transportation to return to your country of origin or anywhere else outside of Canada at the conclusion of your course of studies

At present, you will need at least CA$10,000  (US$7,650) per year to support yourself. It is $1,000 higher if you plan to study in Quebec. Provide bank statements, proof of tuition payment, evidence of a scholarship or letter from a person or agency providing you with funds

3. Provide proof that you have no criminal record or pose a threat to Canada’s security. Obtain a police clearance certificate from your country of origin for this purpose.

4. You are in good physical health.

5. Be able to assure an immigration official that you will leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay

Visa Application Forms

You can obtain a student visa application packet at the Canadian embassy or consulate in your country or via the CIC website. A number of countries require that you first obtain a temporary residence permit, which can be processed at the same time as your student visa. There are 55 countries that are visa-exempt but whose visitors must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization, or ETA.

When applying online, you will be asked a series of questions to determine your eligibility. If eligible, you will receive a personal checklist code that is valid for 60-days. During this time, create a MyCIC account where your code is submitted. A personal document checklist is sent to you to use for uploading and sending your documents to CIC.

If you have concerns about qualifications or any other issues, contact a Toronto immigration lawyer from Affinity Law.

Top Reasons Why Student Applications are Rejected

About 30% of all student visa applications are denied. Some of the more common reasons are:

  1. Inability to support yourself

The immigration officer was not convinced you have the financial means to support yourself. You need to demonstrate that adequate finances are available to you with bank statements, proof scholarships or grants, and letters from family members promising the funds to you.

  1. Intent to leave after studies are concluded was unconvincing

You may need to rework your personal statement that shows your intent to leave. You can have dual intent, meaning you want to study here temporarily but live here permanently. You may also have shown insufficient family ties to your home country or lack of assets there.

Gaps in your travel history or that you have not traveled internationally before can be a reason for rejecting your application.

  1. Lack of job prospects in your home country

It helps to have a letter from a prospective employer indicating a desire to employ you once you complete your studies, or  have evidence that an earned degree here will significantly improve your chances.

  1. Your choice of a course of study was unreasonable

You may not have adequately explained why you chose this particular program in light of your present occupation or circumstances.

Get it Right

Getting it right the first time can avoid delay and complications in appealing a rejection or in submitting a new one. Talk to one of our Toronto immigration lawyers from Affinity Law about assistance in completing your student visa application. If your application was rejected, then it is essential to discuss it with us immediately.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).

If you listen to the radio or watch daytime television, you likely have heard and seen ads about house

Flipping Condos Can Get You Into Trouble

If you listen to the radio or watch daytime television, you likely have heard and seen ads about house or condo flipping as a quick and easy way of making thousands of dollars. One method was pre-construction flipping. You find a residence or condo unit that is under construction, buy it, and then before it is built or shortly after construction is complete, sell it for a profit. Although this has been profitable for some flippers throughout Ontario, the process is not as simple as it appears. Further, the practice has come to the attention of the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) who are investigating flippers, finding that many have not paid income on the capital gains. Consequently, the CRA has imposed substantial penalties on those who unlawfully evaded the tax.

Pre-construction flipping is also known as assignment sales, since you are contracting with the builder over property that does not yet exist. Although the builder is not required to disclose this transaction, the CRA is not prevented from developing or using software to track assignment sales.

Under the Income Tax Act, the CRA can demand that you disclose to it all details of any transaction. Lately, CRA officials have looked into condo sales to investigate assignment sales to uncover abuses. Once alerted by the CRA, you will have to disclose the date you purchased the condo, what you paid for it, the date of sale, and the sale price. If you sold the condo within 12-months of its purchase, your transaction will be scrutinized to see if you claimed the personal residence exemption on the gains you made. If you are being scrutinized or are thinking of buying a condo as part of a short-term investment strategy, talk to an experienced Toronto real estate lawyer from Affinity Law.

Also, when you sell a pre-construction condo contract, you are considered the builder, which means you will owe the government capital gains tax and HST. This applies not only to the profit you make when selling the contract, but to the deposit that is returned to you.

HST Issues

HST issues arise under the following circumstances:

  1. The HST is generally included in the purchase price of the condo. It is charged at the lower rate since builders assume the buyer will reside in the unit and qualify for the rebate. If the unit is sold, the builder may be reluctant to provide the rebate to the third party and will pay it to the CRA. The third party then has to claim it. If the builder absorbed the rebate for the buyer’s benefit but who never lived in the residence, the CRA will go after the builder.
  2. Assignors of an assignment sale have to pay the HST on the higher assignment price being charged. Any profit is subject to income tax.
  3. If the assignor is a non-resident of Canada, the new buyer must withhold whatever HST the assignor owes on the transaction or the CRA will come after the assignee.

You can try to get the assignee to pay the HST although that will certainly deter buyers. Or, like some have done, simply not add it to the sales price or designate themselves as investors rather than traders to evade the tax. However, the tax has to be paid by someone. As an investor, you would pay 50% on your capital gains. As a trader, it is 100% since it considered business income.

Informal Auditing by CRA

If you have been involved in a pre-construction condo transaction, the CRA may send you a questionnaire to complete regarding the transaction, which is similar to an audit. If you have received such a questionnaire, immediately contact a Toronto real estate lawyer since you risk substantial penalties as high as 50% of the tax debt you were assessed if you are found to have been grossly negligent. If you have been assessed, then you likely owe penalties. However, you do have 90-days to file a Notice of Objection to the penalties.

What is the Residential Tax Exemption?

To claim the residential tax exemption, you have to report the disposition and designate the property as your principal residence on Schedule 3, Capital Gains (or Losses) on your tax forms. The exemption allows you any profit gained from the sale as tax-free. You do have to show intent to live there, or that a job or life-changing event forced you to sell soon after its purchase. Intent can be shown by:

  • Mail with your name and address on it
  • Utility usage
  • You recorded the address with Service Ontario
  • Photos of you in the furnished unit

If you had to sell within a short time after its purchase, you can show intent by:

  • Proof of recent financial difficulties
  • New job that requires relocation
  • A relationship ended that forced the sale

Consult with a skilled Toronto real estate lawyer at Affinity Law if your intent is being questioned by the CRA.

How to Prove It’s an Investment

An assignment sale is fraught with risks for those contemplating pre-construction condo flipping. If you are an individual who has done similar transactions in the past, be aware that the CRA may look at these factors in determining if your property qualifies as an investment or trade:

  • Was ownership for less than one-year?
  • What expertise or experience do you have relevant to real estate or taxation?
  • Your history of prior transactions
  • Were improvements made close to the sale?

It is far better to invest in such property for the long-term so as to avoid harsh tax penalties and to enjoy any gains you do receive if not only to avoid CRA scrutiny. Here are some suggestions if you are thinking of buying a condo as an investment for the short term:

  • Hold it for at least one-year, though 18-24 months from date of possession is more credible
  • Lease it out for at least one-year to be eligible for an HST rebate of up to $24,000
  • When you do sell, you can deduct operating expenses from your profit and be only taxed 50% on capital gains

In any event, a short-term investment in real estate may not result in the quick profit promised by those radio and television ads. A Toronto real estate lawyer from Affinity Law can provide you the advice you need so you can make an informed decision about this and any other real estate investment.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).

Corporations are a unique form of business entity in that they are separate entities. Accordingly, they are taxed separately and you must file both a T1,

Incorporating a Business

Incorporating a Business

Corporations are a unique form of business entity in that they are separate entities. Accordingly, they are taxed separately and you must file both a T1, a personal tax form, and a T2, a form for the corporation. This it the most popular form of business entity, but there are different types that offer their own rates and deductions.

If you have a business or are thinking of starting one, the legal form of your business should be seriously considered based on a variety of factors. Incorporating can offer many advantages to you and your business but this decision should be discussed with your financial advisor and an Toronto corporation lawyer from Affinity Law.

Benefits of a Corporation

There are a number of advantages to incorporating:

  • Limited liability—in case of a lawsuit, your personal assets are not subject to seizure by creditors. As a shareholder, your liability is limited to the value of what you invested in the business. An exception is if you made a personal guarantee or were negligent.
  • Unlimited life—the corporation can live on indefinitely, even after the original shareholders have passed on or sold their shares, or the ownership changes.
  • Tax advantages—you can determine how and when any income you earn is distributed. You may even take income in the form of a dividend, which will decrease your tax obligation. Further, you can defer income until your individual tax rate is lower.
  • Income splitting—you could re-distribute income from the business to shareholders such as individual family members, or from higher income earners to lower income ones who are taxed at lower rates.
  • Qualify for the SBD (federal small business deduction)—this takes 10.5% of the first $500,000, which can reduce your net corporate tax to a lower tax rate than that of your personal income rate.
  • Raise capital—you can raise capital by selling shares to investors (equity financing) that does not have to be repaid and incurs no interest. The business gets a capital gains deduction from the selling of shares. The corporation can also borrow directly from its own shareholders
  • Business name protection—you can use your name throughout the country without anyone else using it.
  • It enhances the appearance of stability and of your brand.

Disadvantages to Incorporating

However, not all businesses need or should be incorporated. It is highly advised that you discuss this with a Toronto business lawyer from Affinity Law. The following are some disadvantages:

  1. Business formalities. Once incorporated, you are required to have periodic meetings, take and maintain minutes, and submit and keep updated certain documents including the register of documents, share register, and transfer register.
  2. Losses—unlike a sole proprietorship, you cannot deduct any corporate losses from your own personal tax liability. Any loss in a corporation can only be carried forward or backward if you want to reduce the corporate income in other years.
  3. No personal tax credits—each dollar earned is taxed and you are not able to claim a personal tax credit as if you were a sole proprietor
  4. Limited liability? In some cases, you may be unable to secure debt financing because of limited assets prompting financial institutions to insist on your providing a personal guarantee. If you are unable to meet the obligation, your personal assets are now exposed.
  5. Decreased ownership—if you do sell shares to investors to raise capital, you are also decreasing your percentage of ownership in the corporation.

Steps Toward Incorporating

Should incorporation be your best and most advantageous option , here are some basic steps you will need to take:

  • Choose a name

Your corporate name can be in English or French, or both. You do have to perform a search through NUANS, unless the corporation if incorporating a number company, that lists provincial and territorial names, except for Quebec, so that your name or a very similar has not been taken by an existing corporate entity. A NUANS name search report will need to be filed along with your Articles of Incorporation.

Your name choice should reflect the nature of your business and attract the type of clients you seek. As an alternative, a number can be assigned as your company name and then you may trademark a name that will be known to the public. Further, your corporate name must end with one of the following elements: Limited (Ltd.); Incorporated (Inc.); Limitee (Ltee); or Incorporee (Inc.).

  • Your address

Your corporate address must be an office or residence. A post office number will not suffice. You can have multiple offices but only one for the primary address.

  • How many shareholders and shares

There is a minimum of 1 shareholder and a maximum of 50. All shareholders are registered along with their residential addresses. There is no minimum or maximum number of shares that your company can issue, though this and the value of your shares should be discussed with your financial advisor or Toronto business lawyer from Affinity Law.

  • Elect directors

Directors are elected by the shareholders and make the administrative decisions for the company. Ontario law dictates that at least 25% of the directors be Canadian residents, unless it is a non-resident corporation. If one director, he or she must be a Canadian resident. If two, then one must be Canadian. If three directors, two shall be Canadian. Directors can be shareholders and officers as well.

Directors have a statutory duty to act honestly in the best interests of the corporation, to not act in their own personal interest and to avoid conflicts of interest. They are required to act with due care in making decisions affecting the corporate interests.

  • Who are the officers

Corporate officers are selected by the directors and can be removed at their discretion. All corporations shall have at least a president and secretary, but which are positions that can be occupied by a single person. Their roles and offices are set out in the Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and corporate resolutions. Shareholders and directors may also act as officers. The president is responsible for the daily operations of the business and the secretary is there to ensure the corporate minutes are taken and all records maintained.

Other formalities need to be followed as well. Determine whether your business is a viable candidate for incorporating and the type of corporation with your Toronto corporation lawyer from Affinity Law.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).

Car accident claims are among the most common types of personal injury claims considering that there are about 160,000 reported car accidents

Car Accident Claims

Car accident claims are among the most common types of personal injury claims considering that there are about 160,000 reported car accidents each year throughout Canada. But they can be confusing and challenging for anyone and may result in your not realizing the most compensation for your claim. Consult with a Toronto car accident lawyer from Affinity Law if you were injured in a car accident.

Ontario has a no-fault insurance system for car accident claims and has two avenues for compensation. One is an accident benefit case where you can obtain compensation from your own insurer, regardless of fault. The other is a case in which your Toronto accident lawyer from Affinity Law can seek additional monetary compensation provided that you meet certain thresholds and prove that the other motorist caused your accident and injuries.

Accident Benefit Claims

A claim for accident benefits must be submitted within 30-days of the accident. They will be denied to motorists who lacked auto insurance or a valid driver’s license, or who were engaged in any kind of criminal act at the time of the accident. Passengers who knew or should have known that the car in which they suffered injuries was being driven without the owner’s consent are also ineligible.

Eligible recipients may recover the following benefits:

  • Income replacement –Pays up to $400 weekly if your injuries prevented you from working. You can purchase optional benefits for increased payments
  • Non-earner—Compensates you for up to 26-weeks if disabled from engaging in normal daily activities
  • Caregiver—If you are the main caregiver and unable to care for a family member who is under 16 or over 16 and disabled
  • Medical and rehabilitation—Pays for reasonable and necessary expenses not covered by a government or supplementary health plan
  • Attendant care—Expenses for your own caregiver retained due to the injuries caused by the accident
  • Other—Covers possible educational costs, housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, and items damaged in the vehicle
  • Death and funeral expenses

Medical payments are limited to $3,500 for care not covered by OHIP and if your injuries are deemed “minor” by the insurer. For injuries between “minor” and “catastrophic,” you may claim medical benefits up to $50,000. You are covered for up to $1M for catastrophic injuries such as loss of a limb, vision, paraplegia, or traumatic brain damage.

Tort Claims

Your Affinity Law Richmond Hill personal injury lawyer can also bring a third party claim against the at-fault motorist under 5 possible scenarios:

  1. Permanent and serious injuries. A judge determines whether your injuries meets this threshold so that you can claim damages for pain and suffering. Your injuries may be physical and/or psychological. There is a cap on damages for pain and suffering of around $381,000 at present.
  2. Health expenses. You can claim expenses for serious injuries that significantly affect your daily living such as paralysis, loss of vision or cognitive skills.
  3. Lost income. If your inability to work was caused by your car accident injuries, then you may claim past and future income losses.
  4. Family claim. Family members can sue for the loss of love, guidance, care and companionship of a loved one killed in an accident, or if the permanent and serious injuries of your loved one significantly affects family life.
  5. Housekeeping and maintenance. These expenses must be significant since your insurer will generally cover these costs to a certain amount.

If you have a possible tort claim case, you have only 120-days to provide notice to the responsible party or your claim is waived. There is a 2-year time limit to file the claim in court.

Fault in an Ontario car accident is based on Fault Determination Rules that cover more than 40 possible scenarios. Under these regulations, fault can be assigned from 0% to 100% for the defendant motorist or shared with both parties in any percentage up to 100%. If you disagree with the determination, your Vaughn personal injury lawyer from Affinity Law can appeal the decision. If not settled, a court-assigned mediator can listen to the evidence presented by both you and the insurer and render a decision. You still retain the right to bring your claim to trial if the mediator’s decision was unfavorable to you.

Do not hesitate to call one of our highly experienced Toronto personal injury lawyers at Affinity Law to ensure that you receive the benefits and compensation that your car accident injury deserves.

Call us today for a free consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).

Pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles often leave victims with serious or life-threatening injuries if not fatal ones.

Pedestrian Accidents in Toronto

Pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles often leave victims with serious or life-threatening injuries if not fatal ones. As in accidents with bicyclists, a motorist is presumed negligent unless the driver presents convincing evidence to the contrary or that the pedestrian acted irresponsibly so that a third-party claim may be pursued.

Many accidents occur within crosswalks or when a person is otherwise crossing a street. Others occur while a person is walking alongside a roadway, or when a motorist is outside his car and attending to it for a tire or mechanical issue. Common factors that lead to pedestrian accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Poor street lighting where a motorist failed to see the pedestrian
  • Driving too close to a pedestrian

As a pedestrian, you do have a duty to look out for your own safety. This includes crossing within a marked crosswalk if available, not crossing against the light or in the middle of a street, staying off of freeways, and not running into a street unless it is safe to do so. However, motorists in suburban areas should be cognizant of small children on the streets and be on the lookout for them.

If injured, you are entitled to Accident Benefits regardless of fault for income replacement, medical and rehabilitation expenses, and loss of caregiver and housekeeping capacity. Their availability and amount depend on the severity of your injuries. Your own auto policy will provide these benefits or the policy of a household member. If no policy is unavailable, you can use the responsible driver’s policy for these benefits, or the Ontario Accident Claims Fund if there is no other insurance. Talk to a Toronto pedestrian accident lawyer about receiving benefits to which you are entitled.

You can simultaneously bring a claim against the responsible motorist in a third party claim so long as your injuries are a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function, or a serious and permanent disfigurement. If so, you can pursue compensation for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life along with income loss and medical expenses not covered by Accident Benefits.

Damages in a Fatal Accident

If a fatal accident, then your Toronto pedestrian accident lawyer can help you recover damages for the loss of your loved one. You can get Death and Funeral Benefits in these amounts:

  • $25,000 to the spouse
  • $10,000 to each dependent
  • $6,000 in funeral costs

These amounts may be more if optimal coverage was purchased. In a third-party claim brought by close family members of the deceased, damages can include:

  • Loss of the decedent’s love, guidance and companionship
  • Loss of the decedent’s financial contribution
  • Loss of any household services that the decedent would have performed
  • Any loss of income that family members sustained as a result of the death
  • Out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the decedent’s final days before succumbing

The decedent’s estate, apart from the claim brought by the surviving family members, can bring a claim for the pain and suffering endured by the decedent before dying.

To get all the damages for which you or family members are entitled, retain a skilled and knowledgeable Toronto pedestrian accident lawyer from Affinity Law.

Call us today for a consultation at 1 844 786 LAW 1 (5291).