Manitoba’s Tuition Fee Rebate helps young people build futures

By providing post-secondary graduates with a 60 per cent income tax rebate on their eligible tuition fees, the Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate helps young people pay for their education while they live and work in Manitoba.
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Students who graduated with a degree, diploma or certificate from a post-secondary institution recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency on or after January 1, 2007 and now work and pay taxes in Manitoba can benefit from the Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate.
It doesn’t matter if their post-secondary training took place in Manitoba or elsewhere.
How it works
Graduates may be entitled to receive up to a 60 per cent income tax rebate on tuition fees paid to a maximum benefit of $25,000.
Here are some examples of what this rebate could mean to you:
Sample tuition fees      60% Rebate
$40,000                              $24,000
$25,000                              $15,000
$5,000                                 $3,000
Post-secondary students, who are residents in Manitoba, can also apply for a five per cent refundable Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate Advance while they are going to school.
Making your claim
Graduates can claim their tuition fee rebate on their personal income tax return. Simply complete the T1005 – Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate.
Find out more
To find out more about how Manitoba’s Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate or the Advance can help put money in your pocket as you put down roots in Manitoba, please call the Manitoba Tax Assistance Office at 204-948-2115 or toll-free at 1-800-782-0771.

Philosopher-turned-electrician has sights on another career change

By Jared Story

How many philosophers does it take to change a light bulb?
If the philosopher in question is Daniel Blaikie, the answer is one. Blaikie – the son of former Elmwood-Transcona MP Bill Blaikie – works as an electrician with McCaine Electric Ltd., but also holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Concordia University in Montreal.
Blaikie is a recent graduate of Red River College’s Pre-Employment Electrical program and is currently working toward completing the Electrical Apprenticeship program. The 30-year-old, who lives in Transcona with his wife Janelle and his 18-month-old son Robert, said the decision to move from philosophy to electricity was made in order to stay in Winnipeg. “My wife and I decided we wanted to stay in Winnipeg and raise a family, so I needed to figure out something else, and I had actually started out in the Carpentry program (at RRC),” says Blaikie, who’d attended carpentry classes in 2006 and 2007.
“I wasn’t able to do the second half of that program, but it whet my appetite for the trades and I realized I like working with my hands, so when I was contemplating what else to do when we moved back to Winnipeg, the trades were high on the list. One of the great things about the trades right now is you can get paid to learn, and you’re learning something that other people value and are willing to pay for.”
Blaikie said the work he does with McCaine, which includes pulling wire, running conduit and building cable trays, is satisfying because of the cut-and-dried nature of the job. “With philosophy, jobs are always not finished. There’s always more you could have read, some other lead you could have chased down, and at a certain point, you just have to report on where your research is at: ‘This is where I got with the time allowed,’” says Blaikie, who taught an introductory philosophy course at the University of Winnipeg. “Whereas with a trades project, there’s a clear beginning and a clear end and the standard of assessment is pretty clear. Does the house stand? Do the lights go on? Does the toilet flush? There’s something really satisfying about doing a project that has a determinate beginning and a definite end, and you know right away whether you did a good job or not. And if you didn’t, you know how to fix it.”
But Blaikie might soon be putting his electrical career on pause for a much less-decided occupation. In June, he defeated Elmwood MLA Jim Maloway to represent the NDP in Elmwood-Transcona in the next federal election. “I grew up in a house that was really dedicated to the fight for social, economic and environmental justice, and was brought up to see the role and to believe in the role that government plays in setting all that up,” Blaikie says. “It’s something you see on the job site too, whether you’re talking about Workplace Safety and Health or negotiating wages. When you see that stuff and you’re represented by a Conservative MP, it’s very difficult having the background that I have and believing in that role for government to just stand on the sidelines.”
Blaikie, whose sister Rebecca is the NDP’s president, has past political experience, having worked as a constituency assistant for Andrew Swan (MLA for Minto), as well as Theresa Oswald (MLA for Seine River) when she was Minister of Health.
Blaikie says his current career is also his preparing him for politics. “I’d say my experience on job sites across Winnipeg has been a really good experience and one that I would take with me to Ottawa – and one I think more people who are representing ordinary Canadians should have. You learn a lot about what the day-to-day concerns of people actually are,” he says.
In the meantime, Blaikie says he’s more than happy working for McCaine. “I’m a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 2085). There are a lot of good contractors under that umbrella. For the moment, I’m quite satisfied.”
Visit to find out more about the college’s Pre-Employment and Apprenticeship Electrical programs.

JCI’s storied history with the annual Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade

By Natasha Fisher

Nov.15 will mark the 105th anniversary of the Santa Claus parade here in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade has a wonderful, community-based history throughout its 105 years and for the last 40 years, it has been the key community event for JCI Winnipeg.
The Santa Claus Parade started with the Eaton’s department store which hosted the first parade back in 1909, and continued to do so until 1965. Due to increasing costs, Eaton’s could no longer organize the parade.
However, the parade still continued thanks to a gentleman by the name of Captain George Smith of the East Kildonan fire department, who on behalf of the Winnipeg Firefighters Club, bought the parade from Eaton’s for $1.50.
For close to ten years, the Winnipeg Firefighters worked very closely with volunteers from schools to carry on the parade tradition, and in 1975, the Winnipeg Jaycees, now JCI Winnipeg, was asked to continue the community tradition.
JCI Winnipeg took over the stewardship of the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade exclusively until 2004. Today, the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade is presented by Manitoba Hydro and guided by the Winnipeg Parade Committee.
JCI Winnipeg continues to have a very active role in the Santa Claus Parade including the continued stewardship of the Santa Claus float.

The JCI Winnipeg team with the Santa Claus float.
The JCI Winnipeg team with the Santa Claus float.

Yes – the float that carries the man himself, Saint Nick, along the streets of Winnipeg. It is quite special to be responsible for Santa’s ride – however, if I was to be honest, for 364 days of the year, the float can be quite a pain.
First, the float is rather large so finding storage for it is quite a challenge. For a while it was stored outside, which in turn resulted in significant weather damage, and it became the home for a stray cat or two. We eventually lucked out with indoor storage, however the rent was too high to keep up for a non-profit, membership-based organization. Currently, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer have a temporary home in an empty shed on our chapter president’s family farm.
Second, due to the weather damage and the age of the float (it is built with old Eaton’s billboards), repairs need to be made on a yearly basis. Last year, JCI Winnipeg teamed up with the very talented and dedicated crew from the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology who worked on the float prior to the parade. Santa himself said it was the best the float has been in years. I am sure the staff and students found a few extra presents under the tree.
Despite the storage and repair pains of the float, it is what happens throughout the day of the parade that makes it all worth it. For that one day, all the stress just melts away, and you have a permanent smile on your face. It is a day I look forward to every year and it is an opportunity for every JCI member to be involved in this timeless Winnipeg tradition.
Hours before the parade even starts, JCI Winnipeg hosts Santa’s Workshop in Riddell Hall in the University of Winnipeg for many inner-city youth. Throughout the day, the children play video games, make crafts, write letters to Santa, eat lunch, and have an opportunity to get a free picture with Santa. This is not something that every child can afford to experience, but on the day of the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade, JCI Winnipeg, a team of dedicated volunteers, and generous sponsors make it possible.
Last year was the first year I volunteered to serve sandwiches, and my eyes were opened to the number of families that do not have enough to eat. It was not unusual to have a few families take a number of extra sandwiches and pack them up so they had meals for the next week.
Following Santa’s Workshop, JCI Winnipeg, along with other organizations, participate in the block parties along Portage Avenue. At our Host-a-Block, JCI Winnipeg members play street hockey with the children and provide hot chocolate.
Finally, the parade starts and JCI members escort Santa and his float along the parade. You have to experience it yourself to understand what it is like to be one of Santa’s peeps.
Children along the parade route are chanting “Santa! Santa! Santa!” They wave their arms, high-fiving you as you walk by while others are just shaking from pure excitement from seeing the one-and-only.
Soon, your face is hurting from smiling and your arms are sore from waving so much, but the joy, excitement and adrenaline you get back from the community lined up along Portage Avenue is something one cannot put into words.
You are riding that high all day and night, and once the parade is over and Santa’s sleigh is tucked away for another year, you start to experience what I call the “post-parade blues,” and already you are looking forward to the next year.
For JCI members, the day of the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade is a full day of giving back to the community, but in reality, what you get back from participating in something that brings so much joy to others is immeasurable – and truly priceless.

Is it time to call in for reinforcements at work?

By Lisa Cefali (photo by Ed Uthman)

Today’s business environment is fast-paced, and the need to have top performers in an organization is critical. We often talk about the importance of a good-functioning team; a team that works well together, understands the company’s objectives, and knows how each of their performances and deliverables affect those objectives.
As leaders, we know that we need to set clear goals and work with our teams so that they have the skillset and any additional support they need from us to get the job done well.
But what about us? What about the executive leaders? When do we get to call in for help and support?
Executive coaching is not a sign of weakness, nor should it be introduced as a solution to a situation that is past its date of survival. It should be a proactive approach to your own leadership abilities that will only propel yourself and the organization further along the current successful course you are on.
With the competitive landscape of business today, even as a leader, getting help is not a bad thing. Ask yourself the following questions, and if you can relate to the scenarios, then it could be beneficial to enlist the help of an executive coach.
Do you feel the pressure to succeed?
You know what is expected of you, and you know you need to show true impact sooner rather than later. Having an extra ear to share what you are going through can alleviate the pressure that may be based on simply a change in culture or your newness to an organization.
Is it lonely at the top?
You know going to your board or to your president isn’t really an option – they hired you to lead and too much candor, questions and requests for a sounding board could send the wrong message.
Yes, your partner loves hearing about your day as you do about his/hers, but would you not want to share ideas and concerns, and gain some objectivity and insight from someone who has been there before you – and whose sole purpose is to listen and offer support with the intent to help make you and your organization stronger?
Do you have an established network?
Most of us have a personal support network to bounce ideas off of; however, creating a similar network within your business network is not always possible. Seeking out an executive coach allows you to start a practice that you can keep building and strengthening as you move through your career. It can assist you with the more difficult decisions in the future – like your next career change, your next promotion, and your eventual transition into retirement.
In our personal lives, we all seek out other professionals to assist us with many aspects of our lives, whether it is the day-to-day errands that allow us some form of work-life balance, the assistance of a professional to complete the big jobs around the house – like a new roof, or installing an addition to the house – or repairing the car after the damage it sustained during the first snowfall.
We also know that there are professionals who are there to assist us when we need help (doctors, hairstylists, dentists) or when we need that extra push to really excel (personal trainers).
So why not accept the assistance of an executive coach – an individual who has had true leadership experience, who has lived through some of your own career challenges, and is there to ride alongside you as you lead?

Lisa Cefali is the vice president of executive search with Legacy Bowes where she uses her many years of competitive intelligence, recruitment, and assessment of emotional intelligence experience to uncover those attributes that provide for the best organizational fit for her candidates and clients. Please feel free to contact her at for your executive search and recruitment need.

Climb to new heights with a career as an ironworker

When it comes to working in high places, ironworkers is a career to aspire to. The job that these skilled tradespeople do is at the core of every major construction project.
Whether it’s big box buildings like Winnipeg’s new IKEA store or the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport’s terminal building, the MTS Centre, Investors Group Field or the current addition to the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg, ironworkers are the tradespeople captured in iconic pictures perched on the end of a steel girder helping to make someone else’s dream project a reality.
For someone thinking of entering the trades, becoming an ironworker can lead not only to working on some of the most interesting building projects in our province but also to a career that provides some of the highest wages in the trades sector. While a majority of the building projects can be found in our city centres like Winnipeg, there is also plenty of work to be found in other business or industrial settings such as mines, hydro dams, steel mills, gas pumping stations, windmill farms and converter stations.
Apart from erecting the steel framing associated with bridges or the tall buildings we see around us, ironworkers also do all the rigging that is needed to move everything into its right place. They also do the welding and the connecting that keeps everything where it belongs, and construct all the rebar hidden under the floors and in the walls that hold the enormous weights bearing down from above.
There is demand for these skilled tradespeople locally, and here in Manitoba, regulations require all ironworker apprentices to complete a three-year term of trade-learning. This includes both a board-approved program of technical training (in-school), combined with practical training (on-the-job) supervised by a journeyperson or designated trainer. The province’s ironworker trade regulations also establish a rising scale of legally-binding minimum wages owed to registered apprentices as they progress through the levels of their program.
Registered apprentice ironworkers are expected to invest a total of at least 1,800 hours annually in practical training and technical training combined. A general rule of thumb is that roughly 80 per cent of this yearly time investment represents job-site experience.
The remainder consists of a yearly eight-week stint of technical training. An apprentice is not considered a “Level 3 Apprentice” until the total time requirement of 3,600 hours (two years of 1,800 hours) has been satisfied.
You are eligible for certification as a journeyperson on your anticipated completion date only when the total requirement of 5,400 hours of accumulated experience on-the-job and in school has been satisfied, all fees have been paid and you have passed your Red Seal examination. Achieving a Red Seal certification after completing a journeyman rating provides the ironworker tradesperson the opportunity to work in most all of our provinces.
First-year apprenticing ironworkers can earn in the area of $60,000 per year with pay scales rising with time served and skills and experience gained. First Nations people can find plenty of opportunities in the ironworker trade both here in Manitoba and nationwide with many projects underway near their rural communities and in the larger city centres.
As a journeyperson ironworker you can expect to be well-compensated while building significant infrastructure to meet the needs of our population now and into the future. You can also look forward to the pride you will have earned knowing that your hands and skill were part of a team of skilled tradespeople that transformed someone’s ideas and drawings into present-day reality.

For more information on becoming an ironworker, email or call 204-783-7853.


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