EMV credit cards: October 2015 is the deadline

What are EMV credit cards?

EMV credit cards are smart cards with integrated circuits that allow point of sale (POS) authentication, which helps to prevent fraud.

If you are a merchant that accepts credit cards, and these days, who isn’t, then keep your eyes open for October 2015. This is the deadline to have your credit card POS hardware accept EMV credit cards.

Merchants that do not upgrade will be liable for the fraudulent use of counterfeit, lost, and stolen credit cards.

Chances are, you’ve already been approached by your merchant account provider. If not, don’t wait!

If you’re not familiar with EMV credit cards, here is a little history for you, taken from Wikipedia. First off, EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa. EMV is a global standard for the inter-operation of chip cards (IC Cards), and IC card capable POS terminals and ATMs.

In Canada for the most part, the major Credit Cards have already implemented Domestic Liability to merchants that can’t accept EMV cards. Here’s a list taken from Wikipedia:

  • American Express: liability shift on 31 October 2012.
  • Discover will implement liability shift on 1 October 2015. For pay at the pump at gas stations, the liability shift is 1 October 2017.
  • Interac (Canada’s debit card network) stopped processing non-EMV transactions at ATMs on 31 December 2012, and will stop processing non-EMV transactions at point of sale terminals after 31 December 2015.
  • MasterCard: domestic transaction liability shift on 31 March 2011. International liability shift on 15 April 2011. For pay at the pump at gas stations, the liability shift was implemented 31 December 2012.
  • Visa: domestic transaction liability shift on 31 March 2011, and international liability shift on 31 October 2010. For pay at the pump at gas stations, the liability shift was implemented 31 December 2012.

Concrete home improvement – Fighting Spring Crumble

Now that the snow has finally melted away, we see what our front steps are looking like. Yikes! They’re crumbling away – even more than last year. The salt and shovelling really do a number on the cement over the winter. We’ve managed to do patchwork over the last few years, but this year may call for more drastic measures.

concrete home improvements on the front steps

In our case, it’s just the step up into the house that needs to be replaced (and obviously the stucco just above it). It doesn’t look like too big of a job, but it does involve some physical labour. Breaking up the old concrete step, building the form for the new step, and mixing and pouring the concrete. There is some metal labour as well, with the mathematical calculations. Here is what we plan to do.

  1. The dimension of the step needs to be calculated first. The dimensions consist of a riser (the vertical face) and the tread (the horizontal face). Since we are replacing an existing step, we can simply measure it before breaking it up. If we were replacing a series of steps from the ground up, we would need to include a foundation as well. Thankfully that is not part of this year’s job.
  2. The next part of the job is to build the form for the concrete. We have some scrap lumber to use for this. We need to cut the side forms according to our riser and tread calculations. We also need to make sure that our form is adhered to the side of the house. We don’t want any movement when we pour the concrete, so we will also brace the form with some wooden stakes along the outside. Finally, we make doubly sure that everything is plumb and level.
  3. Since we are only building one step, we won’t need to rent a portable cement mixer. Our wheelbarrow should do the job well enough. I think that we will also go for the ready-mixed cement that only requires adding water.
  4. Pouring the concrete is the fun part. We pour it slowly and evenly into the form to minimize bubbles. Then, we use a spade to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  5. We have a steel trowel that we will use to get the excess concrete off the tread. That way our step will have a smooth, even surface.
  6. Finally, we want to make sure that our step will be strong and last. We need to keep the concrete damp for up to a week while it cures, as well as spray the step with a curing compound. We are not planning to stain the step, so after the week of curing, our step is done. Tah dah!

Our front step is not a huge concrete home improvement job. If we had to redo the entire front entrance (steps and platform), we probably wouldn’t have the time or tools to tackle it ourselves. Fortunately, there are specialists out there who make the work look easy and can get it done in a day.

I Could Really Use A Vacation

VacationSpring Break is just around the corner. It’s been a busy winter, and I am really looking forward to a little vacation – nothing too exotic this year, but a “pick-me-up” nonetheless.

There’s nothing new in the idea of taking a vacation to relax and de-stress, but vacations offer so much more than just relaxation.

A vacation promotes Creativity:

Every time I go on a vacation, I come home with a list of wonderful things I want to do make. I feel creatively rejuvenated. The things I see around me when I am away from home inspire all kinds of new ideas.

A vacation can stave off Burnout:

For some of us, when we work hard every day, it becomes our routine. And, sometimes this comes at the expense of our health. We become more and more tired, then exhausted, and no longer as productive. We need to make sure to take regular time away from work.

A vacation can keep you Healthy:

We need to take regular time off to recharge our batteries. Going away somewhere gets us out of our regular environment and routine, thereby changing our pace of life. I, for one, need a nice sleep on the beach.

A vacation promotes overall Wellbeing:

My vacations don’t just include lazing around. I like to explore where I am, so I end up doing quite a bit of walking. I also tend to eat better. I return home feeling refreshed.

A vacation can Strengthen Bonds:

Whether it’s a family vacation, or a vacation for just the two of us, or a vacation with friends, we’re spending time relaxing and having new experiences together.

A vacation can help with your Job Performance:

Vacations lead to an increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.

A vacation can have a lasting effect in Relieving Stress:

Did you know that a good vacation could lead to the experience of fewer stressful days for several weeks later? Vacations are a gift to yourself that keep on giving.

Give yourself a gift!


“I Don’t Like Reading! I’m Tired!”




There are many abilities that you child needs in order to succeed in school. Good vision is definitely one of them. Much of a child’s learning is occurs through his or her eyes. Reading, writing, chalkboard / whiteboard / smart board work, and using computers are among a student’s daily visual tasks. Children are constantly using their eyes in the classroom and at play. When their vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.

As children progress through school, the demand on their visual abilities increases. The amount of time spent reading and studying increases, but the size of print in schoolbooks decreases. This places a significant demand on the child’s eyes. Unfortunately, the visual abilities of some students aren’t performing up to the task.

When certain visual skills have not developed, or are poorly developed, learning is difficult and stressful, and children will typically:

  • Avoid reading and other near visual work as much as possible.
  • Attempt to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.
  • Experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.

It is important to have your child’s vision checked regularly during their school years, as vision may change frequently at this time.

Eyeglasses or contact lenses will correct many vision problems. If your child, however, continues to exhibit learning problems, a program of vision therapy may also be needed to help develop or enhance vision skills.

* Adapted from the American Optometric Association

Is Winter Over Yet?


It is mid January. The days are still short and cold. The ground is still frozen and covered in a blanket of snow, and there is still lots of winter ahead. With the warmth of the Christmas holidays now well behind us, some of you may already be starting to look forward to spring.

Enter the Amaryllis. Why the Amaryllis you ask?

It is Amaryllis blooming time and this plant, with its big showy flowers, is just the thing to help get you through to spring. The Amaryllis grows slowly – providing that excitement of anticipation. Then, it doesn’t disappoint when it blooms. Its brilliant tropical flowers brighten any home during the cold winter months.

The Amaryllis is fairly easy to grow and it will flower in the first year. Many Amaryllis plants are also sold preplanted in a gift pot, or sold as a bulb with a prepared pot. It really doesn’t get much easier than that.hing to help get you through to spring. The Amaryllis grows slowly – providing that excitement of anticipation. Then, it doesn’t disappoint when it blooms. Its brilliant tropical flowers brighten any home during the cold winter months.


We’re off to get our Amaryllis today.



What is Hello Neighbour

When it comes to local businesses, Hello Neighbour has been supporting them for over 12 years now. We pride ourselves in offering the best customer service possible as well as helping the integration of small businesses in their communities. Through Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Business Video profiles and Communication, Hello Neighbour offers great exposure to any business, big or small throughout their neighbourhoods.

Everyday is a new day for Hello Neighbour, never knowing which interesting business affiliation will join its over 1000 businesses. When you sign up with Hello Neighbour,  you are more than just another business.

We will do everything to help your business thrive and to get your name out there. Giving you the results you need to be successful. Hello Neighbour also offers the use of coupons as a means to attract new and potential customers with savings. This is a great way to begin your loyalty base in a business. The coupons are entirely your choice, as to how many will be on your profile, as well as what the discounts and offers will be.

Your profile page, will be created by Hello Neighbour, with description of your business and up to 5 pictures of your choice. The profile page will be automatically available in French and English when you sign up.

For more Information:


Get Fit BEFORE the Holidays

Weight loss or getting into better shape may be at the top of your annual list of New Year’s resolutions, but why wait until the New Year to start. By putting your work-out plan into effect before the holidays, you can help reduce your stress and increase your energy, thereby enjoying the busy holiday season even more.

Here are a few reasons to get started early.

1.    Reduce your holiday season stress. Exercise is a great way to work off your stresses and regain a calm and relaxed state of mind.  Exercise can help to lower your heart rate, help you to sleep, and increase your overall energy.

2.     Keep seasonal illness at bay. Eating right and exercising will help boost your immune system, so that you can more easily fight off any cold or flu bugs that are common during this time of year.  Don’t allow yourself to become rundown. If you think you can’t afford the time needed to get fit, then think about the time you’ll lose if you get sick.  So … eat lots of fruits and veggies and get your heart healthy with a regular exercise program.

3.     Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Beginning an exercise routine now will get you started towards your goal before the holiday eating sets you back. Putting it off until later only builds pressure and makes it even harder to start after the holidays.  It’s a lot easier to stay on track once you start seeing results, rather than starting off in a worse place than you were before (perhaps five pounds heavier).

4.     Take some time for yourself. The holiday season can be pretty hectic for most of us.  With fitting entertaining and shopping into our already busy day-to-day lives, we add stress and often end up neglecting ourselves.  Instead of putting yourself last, make an effort to do something that is good for you every day – whether it is going to the gym or taking a walk around your neighborhood to look at the decorations. It’s a Wonderful Life when you’re getting fit and feeling good.

5.     Strive to improve yourself. There are many reasons to commit yourself in a fitness plan, but the best one is because you will be improving yourself.  Starting a fitness routine today is the best way to be the best you.