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For some people, coming to Canada to start a franchise is a dream come true. And it’s a dream that comes with many benefits. Owning a franchise allows you to become a business owner with all the existing vendor relationships and resources of the brand, versus managing in a start-up environment.

What does it take to be a franchise owner? Can anybody do it? According to an article posted on the Canadian Franchise Association website, there are a couple of items you may want to check off before you become a franchise owner.

Fewer listings on the real estate market evening out conditions

The glut of homes for sale in Cow Town is easing, experts say. That's good news on the horizon for prospective real estate deals in general in Calgary. The market is starting to move again with sales up by about 7% in July as compared to the same time last year. According to the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), the uptick was more than likely due to a rosier employment picture, lower home prices and stable interest rates.

Fewer new listings on the market -- nearly 8% fewer than the same time last year -- also plays a role in more balanced market conditions, AREA says. It still continues to be a buyer's market even with depleted inventory. The areas -- along with Calgary -- which are most affected by fewer listings are Edmonton and central Alberta.

Safety app offered to Alberta real estate agents after assault

Buying or selling a home can be exciting. But for Alberta real estate salespeople and those elsewhere in the country, it can also be dangerous. Salespeople often work alone, most don't work set hours, and it can be particularly dangerous for women. After the recent sexual assault of a female Calgary real estate agent who was overseeing an open house, the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) is making a special safety app available to its members.

The emergency response app was created particularly for salespeople who are working alone while showing homes or attending open houses. Using the app won't increase AREA membership dues, and it allows the user to alert people they are in danger or to call emergency personnel to their location via GPS. Users will also be able use the app to view areas that may be sketchy or under threat of some sort.

Things looking up on the Calgary real estate front

Things are looking promising when it comes to the home front in Calgary. Although residential real estate sales aren't as brisk at they used to be, business is picking up in Cow Town, and it is expected to do so in the rest of the province as well. Showing particular promise are homes with a value of $500,000 or less.

The chief economist with the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) says increased activity in Calgary is a sign that the market is starting to become more stable. Sales for homes with a value of $399,000 or less really started to take off, but pricier homes are still feeling the doldrums. There are fewer homes sitting on the market, and that adds to the positive news.

Handling rental properties in estate planning and administration

Buying rental properties may be one way individuals can boost their assets and income. Alberta residents who are thinking about the future should know how to handle these properties when it comes to their estate planning and administration. Executors dealing with rental properties need to be prepared as well. They not only have to think about beneficiaries, but also have to think about the people currently renting the properties.

Executors need to know something about the laws that govern rental units in Alberta. When rentals are a part of testators' assets, executors can't simply sell these properties and disseminate the profits to beneficiaries. Tenants have likely signed leases and the particulars of those leases are still in effect after the owners of these properties die. In essence, executors become the landlords of these rentals and assume the obligations associated with that role.

Litigation in Alberta: Union fight provincial bill

Union leaders and the provincial government are coming to blows over what leaders say is the stripping away of bargaining rights of public sector employees, including nurses. The climate is one that could lead to litigation between Alberta and the unions, which have about 200,000 members provincewide. The Head of the United Nurses of Alberta said the move by the province is the biggest betrayal by the government to alter terms of conditions of the union's contract.

Wage talks are arbitrated, but the bill, the nurses union head said, delays those talks until the end of October. She said the union will fight the bill and possibly take job action. Teachers are of the same ilk. The head of the Alberta Teachers' Association said the move by the province is an affront to teachers. But the province said the move is not about taking money from public sector employees, but about postponing processes.

Franchising 101: What You Need to Know

Franchising can be a great way to operate a business by reducing the complications that often challenge start-ups. So, what is franchising exactly?

It’s a great way for someone with a passion for business to hit the ground running when operating a business. It means that you don’t need to have a fresh idea from the get-go – you can operate an existing brand. And with that brand, you can also get the added benefit of recognition and vendor relationships.

Challenging wrongful dismissal in Alberta with litigation

When an employee finds him or herself fired from a job, he or she may not have been given a reason. When Alberta residents believe they have been let go from jobs unjustly, they may have cause for wrongful dismissal litigation. It may be, too, that they haven't been offered enough severance pay or no severance pay at all. A call to a lawyer may be the best first step to take in such cases.

An employer can end an employee's job in Canada in two ways: firing – for cause and without notice or termination without cause after giving an employee reasonable notice or payment. Severance is based on a number of things, including how long the employee had been working for the company, the chance the employee will find other work and the type of employment. Being fired without being given a reason or without severance can leave an employee feeling helpless and frustrated.

Estate planning: Alberta DIY will kits not the wisest idea

Most people like to cut corners to save a few bucks. But there are some areas that Alberta residents should have professional help in doing and one of those areas is estate planning, particularly when it comes to writing a will. Do-it-yourself will kits might be inexpensive or come without any cost at all, but they could also be challenged when the time comes.

It is crucial that a will contain all the elements of a testator's last wishes and will kits may not fit the bill when it comes to being comprehensive. There also may be room for misinterpreting the contents in a DIY will kit, and since each testator's circumstances are different, will kits don't leave room for individuality. They may also have areas that are erroneous and may need interpretation, which could cause undue stress to loved ones.

Corporate Alberta: Shifting the focus off oil

For many in Wild Rose Country, the oil industry is the be all and end all. When it comes to the corporate world, Alberta seems to have difficulty with economic diversification and is still focused on the oil industry as its pot of gold. But after decades, this outlook may be becoming passé. 

By putting all its eggs in one basket, Alberta hasn't been able to focus on other areas of the economy that provide payoffs. Every provincial government, for decades, has relied on either oil or gas to keep the province running financially. Experts say it may be time to focus on renewable resources, rather than nonrenewables such as oil. The province even has the Heritage Fund which houses royalties from oil and gas, but coffers are smaller today than they were in the 1980s due to one financial crisis after another.


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Calgary, AB T2E 2V9

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