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Monday, March 21, 2005

  • UW will pay interest on tax bills
  • Summer programs for children
  • Spring's here! What's happening
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


[Walk of fame, skier, beach chairs]

The final choice is up to the customers who vote on the UW Shop's web site. "The judges have chosen three pictures that best capture Reading Week in UW wear," explains Mari-Beth Davis of retail services, which has been running the photo contest for the past month. "Problem is, the pictures are so good, we can't pick a winner!" Deadline for voting is March 28, and the winner of a new iPod Shuffle will be announced next day.

UW will pay interest on tax bills

Staff and faculty members who received a tuition benefit for their children in the year 2001 have started getting bills for taxes and interest, and "we understand that the re-assessments for 2002 will follow shortly" from the Canada Revenue Agency, a letter from a top UW official reports.

The letter -- from Catharine Scott, associate provost (human resources and student services) -- went Friday to more than 250 employees who are in line to make extra tax payments because the government has decided that the 50 per cent tuition discount for their family members counts as a taxable benefit. The government ruling was known more than a year ago, but bills are just starting to arrive now.

About that letter: Murphy's law is in full operation. The human resources department says the two-page letter was sent out Friday afternoon with its second page missing. New copies were hastily printed and should get to the recipients across campus this morning.
In her letter, Scott notes that since the government ruling, UW changed its system "so that the tuition benefit for children was taxable to the employee as of January 2003."

She tells employees that when the government said employees would be billed for retroactive payments, "UW appealed this position, offered a settlement to avoid the interest cost to our employees and asked for relief from the re-assessment given our actions of good faith in fixing the situation as soon as we became aware of the issue. CRA refused any offer of settlement." In October, she goes on, "CRA informed us of their intention to reassess UW employees for 2001 and 2002 but excusing us from 2000. We appealed to them again and were refused. At that time there was no indication of when the re-assessments would occur and we were unaware of the assessments and their notifications until employees began to call us last week."

She says it's "especially frustrating" that in addition to retroactive tax payments, CRA is now billing individuals for interest on the money. "We have spent the latter part of last week and this week attempting to come to some arrangement with CRA regarding the arrears of interest. We have offered to pay CRA directly for all of the arrears of interest on our employees' behalf and have been refused. We have asked for a collective appeal and have been refused." And, she adds, individual appeals are not likely to succeed except possibly in cases of "financial hardship".

Scott says something similar has happened at the University of Western Ontario, but there, individuals are being billed only for 2003, not for earlier years. "CRA has agreed to look into this and provide an explanation of this differential treatment but so far we have not been given a satisfactory answer. The University's legal counsel has been consulted and asked to pursue this. However, given the nature of legal and income tax disputes and the arguments and situational elements involved, we are not optimistic that CRA will change their current position. . . . CRA has informed us that each Canadian university which has had a similar benefit (and there are many) will be re-assessed in their time. This is no comfort to UW which does not wish this on any of our colleagues at other universities."

She writes: "We know how frustrating and difficult this is for you and are sincerely sorry for this situation. If we are unsuccessful in effecting any change in the re-assessment from CRA, UW, in addition to the low interest loan, will reimburse each of you for the arrears of interest cost relating to your re-assessment. Please understand that this payment will be taxable but in any event will provide you with some relief from the interest charges." The human resources department can provide details.

Summer programs for children

With March break over, the communications and public affairs office has issued its annual list of UW's summer programs for children. Here's a summary of what will be available on campus after school's out.

Arts Computer Experience (ACE): ACE 2004 is a summer day camp where children can experience hours of fun while learning about art, computers, drama and music combined with outdoor activities and swimming. Age group: 7 to 12. The camp runs 4 two-week sessions, from July 5 through August 26, 8:30 to 4:30 daily. Cost is $310 per session. Contact: ext. 5939, e-mail ace@watarts.uwaterloo.ca.

Engineering Science Quest (ESQ): ESQ is a member of ACTUA of Canada, and winner of the Michael Smith Award for excellence in the promotion of science to young people across Canada. Now in its 14th year, this student-run program explores new horizons in engineering and science, giving children an opportunity to see, touch, invent, design, create, and experiment in eleven distinct camps. Four "ExXtreme programs" focus on the world of computers and technology. Camps have a camper/instructor ratio of six campers per instructor, except the ExXtreme and Primary programs at four campers per instructor. Age group: grades 1 through 12. Camps run weekly from July 4 to August 29, from 9:00 to 4:00, at $195 per five-day week ($220 for the ExXtreme program, $240 for the ExXtreme Video, Web or Lego programs). Contact: ext. 5239, e-mail info@esq.uwaterloo.ca.

Hildegard Marsden Day Nursery Summer Camp: This program of fun-filled indoor and outdoor activities emphasizes the intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth of young children. Activities include science projects, swimming, large and fine motor activities, songs, co-operative games, and field trips. The child-staff ratio is eight campers for each ECE with a maximum of 16 weekly campers. Age group: 2 1/2 to 7 years. Minimum weekly sessions are offered for July and August. Cost is $185 per five-day week; $150 per four-day week. Contact: ext. 5437.

Klemmer Farmhouse Co-operative Nursery Summer Program: Weekly program involving crafts, water play, music and games combined with field trips and outdoor play. Children may register for one or more weeks. Hot lunch and snacks are provided. The child-staff ratio is eight children for each ECE teacher. Age group: 2 1/2 to 5 years. Hours are 7:30 to 5:30. Cost is $145 per five-day week and $135 per four-day week. Contact: 885-5181, e-mail klemmer@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp: Twelve fun-filled days of music camp (August 14-26) welcome boys and girls who have a love for music and some basic music training. They'll participate in choir, instrumental music, private coaching, a musical theatre production, outdoor activities, campfires, field trips, camper planned chapels, concerts by professional artists, and a concert for family and friends. Now in its 22nd year, OMMC gladly receives campers from many Christian denominations. Campers and University-trained counselors are housed in residence rooms at Conrad Grebel University College. Age group: 12 to 16. Cost is $495. Contact: 885-0220 ext. 226, e-mail heplaysviola@yahoo.ca.

UW Volleyball Camp: Female volleyball players (born 1987-1990) will receive the highest quality of instruction in Ontario's best volleyball facility. Instruction at this camp comes from the Warriors' coaching staff and varsity athletes. Advanced technical skills, position specific skills and alternative team systems will be the focus throughout the camp. Athletes will be grouped according to skill level to guarantee the best learning environment. Sessions take place in the Physical Activities Complex. The camp runs July 4-8, and the fee is $165 (accommodations are available for an extra fee). Contact: ext. 5692, e-mail jegrieve@uwaterloo.ca.

UW Warrior Hockey Camp: Players can develop their individual hockey skills in a challenging, fun environment with more than 14 hours of quality on-ice instruction during 11 sessions in the week of August 22-27, a "Shooting to Score" hockey jersey, a certificate of participation, and tickets to Warrior season games. There is a ratio of one instructor to five campers, to create as many one-on-one coaching situations as possible. Age group: boys and girls 6 to 14. Registration fee is $175. Contact: ext. 2635, e-mail kttaylor@uwaterloo.ca.

Spring's here! What's happening

People from UW and eight other Ontario universities attended a day-long forum on Friday about "Canada-India Research Priorities". Held in the CEIT building, the event was sponsored by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, which "builds knowledge and understanding between Canada and India by sponsoring academic activities" from research projects to scholarships. Current areas of interest include "law, business, economic reform, globalization, information management, science and technology, biotechnology, environmental studies, agriculture and distance education". Friday's gathering was "an opportunity to showcase the latest in research activities" and talk about priorities for joint work with Indian institutions. A key session of the forum was chaired by Gail Cuthbert Brandt, UW's associate vice-president (academic), whose responsibilities include international activities. India-Canada

A noon-hour talk is scheduled for March 31 -- Thursday of next week -- by Catherine Fry, of the UW conflict management and human rights office (familiar to some of us who are a bit slow embracing change as the "ethical behaviour" office). It's titled "Five Conflict Management Tips", and a memo from the office notes that "in this hour presentation, Catherine will introduce her five favourite conflict management tips that you can customize to use in a variety of situations. This session is open to staff, students and faculty." Preregistration for the March 31 session is by e-mail: cafry@uwaterloo.ca.

"We are looking for two coordinators for Student Life 101," writes Karyn Nelson of the student life office, noting that SL101 -- UW's annual summer event for students who will be arriving in first year in September -- is scheduled for July 23. "Enhance your organizational, event management and leadership skills in an exciting team environment," an announcement suggests. The volunteer positions open are an overall coordinator ("responsible for assisting in the planning of the event, recruitment and management of volunteers, and designing advertising materials") and a coordinator-cum-web-page-developer. "Students who will be in Waterloo during the spring term are preferred," says Nelson. Applications are due by April 8; more information is available at ext. 6993, e-mail studentlife@uwaterloo.ca.

WHEN AND WHERE
'Nanosensors' talk by Alessandra Ricca, NASA Ames Research Center, California, 10:00, Chemistry II room 361.

Computational mathematics seminar: Jonathan Barzilai, Dalhousie University, "Problems with von Neumann's Theory: A New Theory of Measurement", 3:30, Math and Computer room 5158.

CKMS radio showcase in the Student Life Centre Tuesday: DJs from 9 to 6, followed by a concert in the multipurpose room, details online.

Credit Union mortgages presentation Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

LT3 workshop: Katherine Acheson, department of English, describes the online modules she is creating, Wednesday 10 a.m., Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Smarter Health seminar: Sarah Friesen, Shared Healthcare Supply Services, "The Opportunity of Supply Chain Management in Healthcare", Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Water rights: Frank Schwartz, Ohio State University, speaks on "Whisky's for Drinking, Water's for Fighting Over", as this year's TD Canada Trust Walter Bean Visiting Professor in the Environment, Wednesday 3:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Novelist Lewis DeSoto reads, Wednesday 4:00, St. Jerome's University room 3014.

Orchestra@UWaterloo spring concert Thursday, March 31, 8 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

The president of the Federation of Students has issued an invitation for nominations for the Feds' annual Leadership Awards (deadline is this Thursday). . . . The local Canadian Federation of University Women chapter will hold its famous used book sale April 15 and 16 at First United Church in central Waterloo. . . . Watch for specials, games and a 1980s theme as Brubakers cafeteria in the Student Life Centre celebrates its 10th birthday this Wednesday. . . .

A call for nominations was issued a few days ago for some 20 seats on the UW senate, representing faculty members (in various groupings) and graduate students. Here's a reminder that the deadline for nominations is March 30; full information is available on the university secretariat's web site.

The news site 'uwstudent.org', which a year or two ago was buzzing with information and comment from a student point of view, has been very quiet in recent months -- although it's still the one place where full information is available about, for example, the legalities of the Federation of Students election process. The key people behind the site are a bit burned out, judging from an announcement posted last week by one of them, former student senator Jesse Helmer. The site will be shut down if there isn't an influx of volunteers, he said, setting a deadline of tomorrow. "The plan is to turn off commenting and stop approving new stories. The current content would be preserved."

The campus-wide "UW Apprentice" program runs today through Wednesday, and I dare say we'll be seeing some of the resulting enterprises in lively operation. . . . Appointments can be scheduled now (at the turnkey desk in the Student Life Centre) for the spring blood donor clinic, to be held in the SLC March 28 through April 1. . . . I don't know the details, but the Federation of Students has a free movie showing listed for 8:00 tonight in the Humanities Theatre. . . .

CAR


Communications and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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