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If you own a pet, should you buy pet insurance?

April 28, 2014 | Christina | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Nowadays, it is recognized that there are physical, mental and emotional benefits related to pet ownership.  Check-ups by a veterinarian help to keep your pet healthy. 

But, if your pet should experience a serious injury or illness, treatment can be costly.  Pet insurance may be able to help with the potentially high cost of treating an injured or ill pet.  According to an article titled “What to Know Before You Buy Pet Insurance” by Holly E. Thomas, “pet insurance has become more popular as the cost of major work in animals has skyrocketed.” 

Here are a few questions to consider if you plan to purchase pet insurance in order to cover veterinary expenses related to medical procedures and treatments:

How will you be covered?  Some pet insurance policies determine coverage by geography, breed and/or age.  It is recommended that you compare insurance quotes and that you consult with your veterinarian.

Will the plan change as your pet ages?  It is recommended that you look for plans that offer age-specific treatments to ensure it adapts to your pet's health needs; e.g. coverage of teeth cleaning.

Which plan is the best for your breed?  Policies may exclude conditions based on breed.  For example, some plans do not cover hip problems in golden retrievers or German shepherds.

For more information, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association has an information sheet on Pet Insurance.  The information sheet covers the following questions:  

  • Why consider pet insurance? 
  • What kind of coverage do I need?
  • Which company offers the best insurance packages?
  • What kind of insurance coverage is available?
  • Will pet insurance cover regular veterinary examinations and vaccinations?
  • Is pet insurance available for other types of pets?
  • Do the pet insurance policies cover pets on vacation - out of the province? Out of the country?
  • What is co-insurance?
  • What is a deductible?
  • What kinds of questions should I ask the insurance provider?
  • Ontario Pet Insurance Providers

Pet Insurance Review
has a page on Pet Insurance 101.  Both U.S. and Canadian pet insurers are listed.  This site also allows you to:

  • Read reviews and opinions from thousands of customers 
  • Compare rates and coverage from the leading pet insurers 
  • Get free quotes from multiple pet insurance companies
  • View the site's insurance coverage grid 

For information on how to keep your pet healthy, visit the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website.  It has Fact Sheets on pet safety, pet travel, cat behaviour and training tips, and dog behaviour and training tips.  The Ontario SPCA also offers pet insurance.

You may also be interested in visiting the previous Toronto Public Library blog titled Researching Pet Insurance for additional information on pet insurance.

Furthermore, here are a few titles on pet care at the Toronto Public Library that may be of interest: 

Small Animal Care Natural Health Dogs Cats     Merck Manual
Small Animal Care and
Complete Idiot's
Guide to

Natural Health for
Dogs and Cats

Merck/Merial Manual
for Pet Health


Starting a home-based business

April 23, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you thinking of starting your own home-based business? Having trouble deciding on what kind of business is best for you? Or do you already have an idea but don't know where to start? Begin by writing down all the things you think you can do with your skills and talents, then narrow it down to what you truly want to do.  Thinking through all aspects of your business ideas will help ensure you start in the right direction. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before investing your energies into building your business:

  • Does working on my own suit my personality?
  • Am I self-disciplined enough to be motivated, even when business is quiet?
  • Can I set boundaries between my personal life and my business role? Will there be interruptions from family and friends?
  • Are there any legal or health restrictions that pertain to working out of my residence?
  • Is there enough room for any special equipment or extra help?
  • Is there room to expand?

Next, consider the following:

  • Decide what kind of business you want to have based on your skills and talents. Keep in mind that there is a huge difference between talents and things you enjoy. Just because you enjoy something doesn't mean you will be good at it.
  • Know your competition. Do some research to find out if other similar businesses exist in your area.
  • Understand the needs of your area. Listen to what people say and need in the area. If something they mention is an interest of yours and you are good at it, you should definitely try it.
  • Figure out your profits. To do this you must ask yourself two questions: how much will people pay for my services and can I make a good income off these services?
  • Check into any legal barriers for your business. Some areas have certain rules and regulations for home-based businesses, and you need to check into those before investing much time or money in your business.
  • Connect with your local insurance agent. Find out if you need any special insurance for your home-based business.
  • Create a business plan. This will help you organize the business process and also help you determine what kind of start up costs you are looking at.
  • Invest in your business. You will need to advertise and market your business to get customers. Use the local paper and radio stations near your home to promote your services.
  • Launch your business. Keep in mind that you will make mistakes but entrepreneurs learn as they go.

For information on a variety of topics related to starting your home-based business check out the following governmental agences:

Canada Business Network   Enterprise Toronto      Ontario Service Centre    


Still not sure? The library can help! Check out these books, ebooks and DVDs:

Home             Home2         Home3

Home4 Home5        Home6




Small Business Matters: Canadian Youth Business Foundation

April 14, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Have you heard about the CYBF?


The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to assisting young emerging entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 start-up their businesses. CYBF provides pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing, and mentoring to help them launch and grow their successful business.

To learn more about what CYBF does, watch the video below:


Have more questions? Come join us for an information night held on April 24, 2014 at North York Central Library (auditorium) at 6:30pm where you can hear two representatives from CYBF give an overview of what the foundation offers. They will also provide some key tips to a successful business plan. Questions will be taken.

This program is free. Registration is required. Call 416-396-5613 to register.

See you all then! 

Where to find government innovation assistance programs for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada

April 7, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoAre you a Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) seeking information about programs and other resources to pursue technological innovation?  Do you need help accessing these services?

The Government of Canada's Concierge Service may be able to help.   The Concierge Service, delivered by the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, is a direct response to the 2011 Jenkins expert panel report titled Innovation Canada:  A Call to Action that recommended a more focused approach to facilitate SME's access to available programs, services and funding to help them grow and prosper through innovation.

The Concierge Service is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to help SMEs identify and access the most appropriate business innovation assistance and programs and reflects the Government's aim of bringing services from various departments and organizations together in a way that collectively responds to SME challenges.

 Accordng to the Concierge Service website, they can help Canadian firms from any and all industry sectors

  • Firms undertaking Research and Development
  • Firms in all phases of product and service development
  • Firms seeking productivity gains through the adoption or adaptation of technologies

Initially, you will be asked regarding your innovation need; i.e.

  • Product, Process, or Technology Development
  • Improving Productivity
  • Acquiring Equipment
  • Acquiring or Adopting Existing Technology
  • Finding or Hiring Technical Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding or Hiring Business Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding a Strategic Partner
  • Intellectual Property / Patents
  • Market Research, Market Development, Exporting
  • General Business Guidance / Support

In an article titled " Research and Development within Reach", Corinne Pohlmann, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business states " This one-stop shop for small businesses seeking information and guidance on R&D-related activities at federal, provincial and municipal levels of government will help ensure small businesses receive the support they need in a timely and efficient manner."



Wake up and smell the coffee.

March 31, 2014 | Raya | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...



No other beverage is worshipped quite like coffee. Wherever you go, whatever time of day, you will see hundreds of people carrying coffee cups and hanging on to them as if they were a lifeline. Many people need their morning cup of coffee before they can even utter a word.

So whom do we have to thank for this elixir? Coffee's birthplace is in Ethiopia but it is not known exactly when or by whom it was discovered.  It is likely that the leaves and berries of the plant were simply chewed.  At some point they were boiled with water to produce a beverage more similar to tea. And probably some time in the fifteenth century  someone roasted the beans, ground them and infused them in hot water to create the drink we are familiar with today.

Eventually coffee spread through trade with the Arabs and when the Ethiopians invaded and ruled Yemen in the sixth century they set up coffee plantations. By the end of the fifteenth century, Muslim pilgrims had introduced coffee throughout the Islamic world. Throughout the 1500s the drink gained popularity but was also banned from time to time due to its addictive nature and because coffeehouses allowed people to get together for conversations, entertainment and business and often became irreverent by insulting leaders, writing satiric poetry and engaging in improper behaviour. In fact, it is believed that the French Revolution  began in the coffeehouses of France. The Dutch supplied the European market with coffee grown in the Dutch East Indies. By the 1650s coffee was sold in Italy by street vendors, and Venice's first coffee house, called "caffe", was opened in 1683. In 1689, Francoise Procope, an Italian immigrant, opened his "Cafe de Procope" in Paris and soon French actors, authors, and others began meeting there for coffee and literary conversations.Coffee and coffeehouses continued to spread throughout Europe and with the increase in consumption came the spread of plantations from the Dutch East Indies to Central and South America.

Some fun facts about coffee:  we drink over 500 billion cups of coffee worldwide every year and the industry is worth over $100 billion worldwide ahead of commodities like natural gas, gold, brent oil, sugar and corn. Coffee exporting alone is a $20 billion dollar industry and is mostly consumed by industrialized nations.Coffee is grown in over 50 countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The top three producers of coffee are Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia and 67% of the world's coffee is grown in the Americas alone. Coffee shops are popping up everywhere and have a 7% annual growth rate. Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body and acidity. "Fair trade" coffee was instituted to provide growers with better conditions and a higher cut of the profit. Under fair trade rules, the coffee importer has a direct relationship with the grower, and pays more to maintain that relationship. McDonald's and Starbucks carry free trade coffee.

To read more about the coffee industry and related topics, check out these books:

  Coffee2        Coffee3 Coffee4

Coffee5        Coffee6          Coffee7




Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!

March 27, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Have difficulties managing your personal finances?

Preet Banerjee, trained neuroscientist, racecar driver, and finance commentator shares five rules for taking charge of your money in his new book, Stop Over-Thinking Your Money.

Preet's bookThe five rules are as follows:

1. Disaster-proof your life

2. Spend less than you earn

3. Aggressively pay down high-interest debt

4. Read the fineprint

5. Delay consumption




Can financial success really be as simple as following these five steps? Have questions?

Come and meet Preet LIVE at North York Central Library on April 10, 2014 at 6:30pm. He will explain how the human brain is hard-wired to make bad decisions about money.

More importantly, he'll explain what the audience can do about it.  

Registration is required. Please call 416-396-5613 to register.




Small Business Matters: How to Start a Successful Business

March 16, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

For titles on how to transform a business idea into a business, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library

Innovation       Invent It Sell It Bank It Pivot
       Innovation Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! Pivot

For more titles, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

  •  Creative ability in business
  •  Entrepreneurship
  •  New products

Home ECOnomics

March 6, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Light bulbCome join us tomorrow at North York Central Library for an informative session on Home ECOnomics.

Led by a Certified Energy Advisor from Toronto Hydro, this workshop helps home owners understand how their homes tick.

How much money do you loose every year to wasted home energy? Is your home efficient? Are fluorescent compact bulbs better than incandescent? Are they safe?

This workshop can help you make your home more comfortable and save you serious cash!

This program is free. All are welcome. Registration is required. Please call 416-395-5613. See you all very soon!

Small Business Matters: Buying a Business or Franchise

February 28, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoThis blog post was updated on March 8th, 2014.

Are you interested in buying a business or franchise?

Check out the following titles that may be of assistance at the Toronto Public Library:

Bond, Robert E.  Bond's Top 100 Franchises.  4th ed.  Oakland, Calif. : Source Book Pubns., c2012.

Gray, Douglas A.  The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide.  4th ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2013.

So, Daniel F.  Canadian Franchise Law : A Practical Guide.  Markham, Ont. : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2010.

West, Donald.  Business Acquisition Agreements : An Annotated Guide.  2nd ed.  Aurora, Ont. : Canada Law Book, c2011.

For more titles, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

  • Business enterprises - Purchasing
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Canada
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Law and legislation - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Law and legislation - Canada 


Money Matters Spotlight: How to Avoid Investment Fraud

February 22, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

This blog was updated on February 27th, 2014.

Logo_OSC_screen_enThe Ontario Securities Commission provides some useful tools and resources at their website to help you learn more about protecting yourself against investment fraud.

In addition, the Ontario Securities Commission provides information about individuals and companies that appear to be engaging in activities that may pose a risk to investors. The OSC warns that this information is not exhaustive. It is strongly recommended that you should always check the registration of the individual or company you’re dealing with and research the investment before you buy.

Visit the 'Financial Fraud:  I Think I Smell a Rat!' blog for additional links to useful sites on avoiding fraud such as the Canadian Banker's Association and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Also, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library:    

Faces  Trust me Outsmarting
Faces of Fraud                       Trust Me                                 Outsmarting the Scam Artists

For more titles on this topic, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:  

  • Commercial crimes
  • Disclosure in accounting
  • Fraud - Prevention
  • Misleading financial statements
  • Swindlers and swindling - Prevention

Welcome! We are specialized librarians in our business department and we write about current issues for small business owners and those interested in personal finance matters. For more information and resources see our Small Business & Personal Finance page.

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