International Women's Day Gala 2017

International Women's Day Gala 2017

For the past six years the Young Women in Business chapter at Simon Fraser University has hosted an annual International Women’s Day Conference. The event focuses on a day-long networking experience involving workshops and speakers from a variety of industries. It provided great opportunities for delegates to grow their professional network and learn valuable skills. Although the

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Rundown: High Tea Social

Last month, we had the lovely opportunity to learn table etiquette and manners from Elizabeth Burnett, Founder and President of Elizabeth Etiquette, at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport. Before relaxing and having high tea, Elizabeth shared with us tips, suggestions and rules to proper table etiquette. Not only did we learn which utensils to use and which side plates of food are served and taken away, the number one rule that we took away was to put away our cell phones.

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Workshop #4: Build Your Story

Spend this Wednesday early evening with us at our last workshop of the year! At YWiB, we strongly believe in the power of being bold and ambitious and rightfully so! Meet amazing women in diverse industries and see the power of the two for yourself. Our final workshop of the year will leave you inspired and excited about building your own story.

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International Women's Day Conference 2014 Recap

This year's International Women's Day Conference was a huge success and the atmosphere was filled with positive energy. Led by our marvelous MC, Lien Yeung, between speakers, Valerie Mason-John, Mia Thomsett and Addie Gillespie from DARE Vancouver, Jill Earthy, Suzanne Siemens, Paulina Cameron and more. They shared their stories of how they got to where they are and their definitions of success.

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Executive for a Day Raffle Prize at International Women's Day Conference

557740_362043540500369_254437157_n At our International Women's Day (IWD) Conference on March 8 at the Century Plaza Hotel, we will have raffle prizes you can enter to win. One you might be interested in is our Executive for a Day prize where you could win a coffee chat/office tour of your desired organization to learn more about the career that interests you.

Organizations and professionals participating will be:

Erica Rizzo Technical Talent Associate Hootsuite
Pam Hernandez Project Manager Telus
Sam Ko Manager, Platform Ecosystems & eChannels Marketing SAP
Jennifer Maloney Co-Founder Yulu PR
Stephanie Shaw HR Business Partner Teck Resources
Sanj Kooner Associate PricewaterhouseCoopers
Pam Sirney HR Manager Holt Renfrew
Caoimhe Bourke HR Manager Smythe Ratcliffe
Sam Dundee and Andrea Yeung Mergers and Acquisitions Analyst/Financial Analyst Deloitte/Telus
Ellen Pekeles Senior Vice President of Operations Vancity

Tickets for IWD are now on sale: http://ywibiwd14.eventbrite.caWe will have more organizations and professionals, so stay tuned!

For a list of speakers and panelists, click here.



Mind Your Money Workshop: Answers to Your Financial and Tax Questions

caroline ywib Last month, we held a financial literacy workshop with Caroline Battista, a tax analyst with H&R Block Canada, and she covered everything from budgeting to reducing debt to income tax preparation. With the tax deadline fast approaching, she shared valuable advice on how to get organized early, debunked tax myths and outlined the paperwork needed to complete a tax return.

The response to the workshop meant there were more questions than could be answered. Caroline weighs in on some of the interesting unanswered questions:

Question: Do international students need to file a tax return?

Answer: The Canadian tax system is based on residency rather than citizenship, so there are a number of factors that determine whether you need to file a tax return. For example, if an international student leaves the country to go home for the summer, then he or she is less likely to be considered a resident and would not need to file a Canadian tax return. In the event that there is a tax treaty with your home country, your residency status will be determined by tie-breaker rules in the treaty. A breakdown of the criteria for residency status can be found here.

Your residency status does not matter if you earned income in Canada during the year. If you earned income, you need to file a tax return to report it. This could include money from a job, research grant, or teaching assistant position. If you earned income, you may be eligible to claim tuition and education credits and, if you plan to stay in Canada, you can carry these tax credits forward to use in future years when you are earning more money.

If you did not earn any income but are considered a resident, you may benefit from filing a Canadian return every year you study in Canada. Once you are older than 19, you may be eligible to receive the quarterly GST/HST tax credit, which is meant to refund some of the sales tax you pay.

Question: Can you claim moving expenses if you relocated to Canada from another country?

Answer: With a few exceptions, international students coming to Canada cannot claim moving expenses. You can only claim these expenses when relocating within Canada if you have employment income in your new location.

Question: How long can you carry forward tuition credits?

Answer: You can continue to carry forward unused amounts indefinitely, until you have enough income to use them. Since tuition and education credits are non-refundable credits, they cannot create a refund on their own; you need to have paid income tax during the year to generate a refund. Once you have carried forward your credits, you can no longer transfer them to a parent, spouse or grandparents.

You are required to claim your carry-forward tuition and education credits the first year you can use them, so you cannot choose to use a portion of your credits and save the rest for another year. That means you can only carry forward credits if you have more than you need to reduce your taxable income to zero.

Question: What is the difference between deductions and credits?

Answer: Most tax credits are non-refundable amounts, which means you must have paid income tax during the year in order to claim them. Tax credits are multiplied by 15 per cent before you can apply them to your tax owing. So, if you claim the $5,000 First Time Homebuyers Credit, you receive $750 in tax savings. As long as you have federal tax payable, non-refundable tax credits will increase your refund. Credits are of the same value to everyone so if you transfer tuition credits to your parents, they receive the same amount as you would if you save them and claim them later.

With deductions, the amount of savings fluctuates with income. Deductions are subtracted directly from your taxable income and you do not have to reduce the amount by multiplying it against a percentage. For example, if you earned $47,000 and made a $5,000 RRSP contribution, your taxable income would be reduced to $42,000.

As you earn more income, you pay more income tax. For 2014, you pay 15 per cent income tax on the first $43,953 you earn. From $43,954 to $87,907, you pay 22 per cent on that income. So a deduction can be used to drop your income to a lower bracket, as in the RRSP example above. If you earned $47,000 but your RRSP contribution dropped your income to $42,000, then you will only pay 15 per cent in income tax. And you don’t pay 22 per cent tax on the $3,047 you were over the income threshold. Moving and childcare expenses are other examples of deductions.

Since deductions usually result in bigger tax savings, the Canada Revenue Agency is more likely to ask you to provide receipts to prove your claim. If you cannot provide the proper documentation, your claim will be disallowed and your return will be reassessed without the deduction.

If you need further assistance preparing your tax return, H&R Block tax professionals are happy to answer questions for free. Or you can ask a question online at, or visit to try H&R Block Canada’s new Tax Software. It allows you file one free return until March 31, 2014.

Overcoming the Silent Stigma with Kristin Bower

Kristin Bower - Headshot

Coming up at our Cool, Calm and Collected workshop on Feb 20, we will feature Kristin Bower, HR professional from Vancity, as one of our guest speakers to teach us how to manage our stress effectively.

Inside and outside of the office, Kristin is an advocate for mental health and awareness, as well as author of the blog, Adventures of a Survivor!. After overcoming a personal depressive episode two years ago, Kristin started her blog and wrote to work through her feelings and experiences.

“I was at a point where writing was therapeutic for me,” she says. “But I also wanted to make the leap into advocacy work. Having been through two major depressive episodes, at that point in my life I felt strongly that I could leverage it to make the experience perhaps less scary and lonely for other people also experiencing mental illness.”

During the dark times, Kristin faced many challenges while she learned more about herself, mental illness and her workplace.

“I made a commitment to be honest and sometimes that is a fine line,” says Kristin. “For work and my personal life, being honest has come at a cost. I have lost or ended friendships because that person couldn’t understand or show empathy. And I do feel that my career has stalled at times because of my illness. But at the end of the day, I made a choice and it’s one that I have never regretted.”

Although overcoming her challenges was difficult, Kristin frequently reminded herself of what her values were and what was essential to her well-being. She wanted to surround herself with people that lifted her up and says being honest with herself and others was key in conquering her obstacles.

Aside from her blog, Kristin is also a community correspondent with Partners for Mental Health, a national not-for-profit dedicated to awareness and elimination of stigma associated with mental illness. In addition, she works with the Vancouver/Burnaby branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association and plans events at work in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day and Mental Health Awareness Week in May of each year.

With mental illness becoming more common today, affecting Canadians of all ages, cultures and educational levels, Kristin advises students to challenge their beliefs and assumptions regarding mental health and awareness.

“Open yourself up to learning more about the topic,” she says.

Hear from Kristin and others at YWiB SFU’s Cool, Calm & Collected workshop on Feb 20th. Registration is exclusively available on our Eventbrite: - don’t forget to share your posts about this event with #ywibcalm!

Also, check out Kristin in the National Post.


Cool, Calm and Collected Workshop on Feb 20

ccc2 (1) For our third workshop of the year, YWiB SFU presents a stress management and healthy living workshop designed to help you manage your stress effectively and live your best life.

Featuring three speakers who will each discuss a different aspect of mental health, this evening will also include a couple fun activities (including a stress-management themed DIY!).

Note - This event is business casual

Christine Jamieson - Headshot

Christine Jamieson Founder - Faces of Mental Illness

'Faces of Mental Illness' started in 2012 and has since become an international organization with branches all across the globe. It’s goal is to erase the stigma around mental illness and to create programs to aid in educating those who may one day be affected by it. Christine is also currently Miss Charity Vancouver and Miss Beauty for a Cause Vancouver. She is featured in the following articles:

Kristin Bower - Headshot

Kristin Bower  Talent Consultant - VanCity

Experience with mental health and awareness from a personal and professional standpoint, and also is a strong advocate for mental health and awareness in the workplace. Runs a success blog about the topic, and has been featured in the National Post before with regards to her work (article: “Overcoming the Silent Stigma”


SFU Health & Counselling

Hear from a SFU Health & Counselling representative on opportunities in the health and mental health awareness sectors. In the past, SFU Health & Counselling has spoken at our Holistic Living Workshop and they have worked hard on their Wellness Blog and creating the Hi-FIVE Campaign to empower students to reach their full potential with resilient and healthy minds!

YWiB SFU Presents: Mind Your Money

WS2-Cover Photo FINAL Adulthood can be intimidating as we face more responsibilities and expenses. Which is why it is never too early to start planning! Come out to our first workshop of the new year to learn about topics such as debt management, investment opportunities, tax tips, and money saving strategies from a student perspective.

Our featured speaker is Caroline Battista, tax analyst with H&R Block Canada.

RSVP now: Dress code: Business Casual

Already signed up? Don't forget to tweet and use the hashtag, #ywibmoney!

Tips to Help Get Organized Before Tax Season

Filing a tax return is an important part of your financial plan. However, without the proper documentation, the Canada Revenue Agency will not allow you to claim credits or deductions. Keeping track of receipts and slips is important because without proof, your claim may be denied and you may end up paying more tax than you should.

Caroline Battista, tax analyst with H&R Block Canada and speaker of our upcoming Mind Your Money workshop, offers some advice on how to get organized early and outlines what paperwork you need to complete your return.

First, keep all your receipts and tax slips together in one safe, easy-to-access location. It could be a drawer, an envelope, a file folder or shoebox. This will save looking for receipts at tax time. Remember, if you received a receipt in January 2013 to claim on your tax return, it will be at least 14 months later when you actually file in April.

There are many valuable slips students should keep for taxes, including:

  • T2202A form: Provided by your university or college, this form allows you to claim your tuition fees and indicates the number of months you can claim the education amount and the Textbook Tax Credit. It is based on the calendar year.
  • T4 slips: If you have worked during the year, your employer is required to supply a T4 by the end of February. If you have moved, make sure you provide an updated address. You need to include all your T4 slips from 2013 on your return. Not reporting income can lead to penalties and interest.
  • Student loan statements: For government and provincial student loans, you can claim a tax credit on the interest paid during the calendar year. Unfortunately, private loans and credit lines are not deductible.
  • Transit passes and receipts: If you earned enough income in 2013 and depend on transit to get to campus, keep your passes and receipts to claim the Transit Pass Tax Credit. This also includes some electronic tickets if minimum usage requirements are met and weekly passes are purchased for four consecutive weeks. Make sure the pass clearly states your name, how long the pass is valid, the amount paid and the name of the transit authority.
  • Moving expenses receipts: If you have taxable income from scholarships or research grants, you may be able to claim moving expenses. You may also qualify if you move more than 40 kilometres for a summer job. Deductible expenses include travel, transportation, storage and the cost of meals and temporary accommodation for up to 15 days.

No matter how little income you may have earned, make sure you file a tax return. You may not be able to claim your tuition and education credits now, but you have to file the T2202A Form the year you receive it in order to carry forward the credits or transfer them to a parent, grandparent or spouse.

Filing also means you probably will qualify for the quarterly GST/HST benefit, which should help your quality of student life. And once you graduate, your carried forward credits can result in a refund once you start earning.

If you find taxes confusing and could use some guidance, you can use an online tax preparation program like H&R Block Tax Software which walks you through step-by-step tips to identify every possible deduction or credit, calculates your return as you go, and ensures you get your maximum refund. And you may be able to file for free. If you would rather consult a tax professional, drop by the H&R Block office in your neighbourhood. Students are entitled to special pricing and a tax professional will review your previous year’s return for free.

About the Speaker

caroline ywib

Caroline Battista Tax Analyst, H&R Block Canada

Caroline joined H&R Block as a tax professional in January 2008 after leaving behind a career in the film industry. Steadily promoted within her district, Caroline leveraged her acting skills to act as the local spokesperson and community representative for her area.

Promoted to Tax Analyst in 2013, Caroline continues to support the field as a tax instructor and acts as one of the company’s national spokespeople. She provides commentary on tax law changes and regulatory developments as well as translating tax into simple language.

Prior to joining H&R Block, Caroline was an assistant director in the film and television industry, managing the cast and crew for programs like DaVinci’s Inquest.

She is an active volunteer within her community. She represents H&R Block at the Salvation Army’s Dignity Day preparing tax returns as part of their community outreach program. She also serves on the organizing committee for the Oppenheimer Park Christmas Dinner, which serves more than 2,500 meals on the downtown eastside Vancouver.

Caroline studied marketing and advertising at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and economics at the University of British Columbia.

She lives in North Vancouver with her husband, daughter and father.