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Surrey Board of Trade Receives Over $400,000 in Funding to Build and Support Surrey Employer Capacity to Respond to COVID-19 Workforce Needs



SURREY, BC | The BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing up to $402,105 to the Surrey Board of Trade to deliver a Labour Market Partnership project that will immediately build and support Surrey employer capacity to respond to COVID-19 workforce needs.

With this project, more Surrey employers will have the capacity to manage and respond to workforce challenges and address other COVID-19 related issues. Surrey service providers, the Surrey Board of Trade, employers, and industry groups will be enabled to work together in a more coordinated and collaborative approach on workforce priorities in a real-time, rapid-response structure to help with economic recovery.

“The Surrey Board of Trade is honoured and pleased to have received this funding from the BC Government to deliver on a real roadmap to economic recovery for Surrey employers through this pandemic” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “Employers need help to develop capacity to be nimble and agile while responding to ever-changing workforce and economic conditions. The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased to continue its support to the business community in Surrey.”

The project commenced on July 27, 2020 and will conclude on July 23, 2021. Project actions include:

  • More Surrey employers being prepared and able to respond to the workforce-related impacts and opportunities resulting from the pandemic;
  • More Surrey workers impacted by COVID-19 to be connected to re-employment, re-deployment, re-skilling and sustained employment;
  • More unemployed members of equity-seeking groups in Surrey becoming employed.
  • A real-time Back-to-Work Strategies Playbook that can be adapted and used by other communities and tailored to specific industry sectors;
  • Ongoing real-time labour market Intelligence to support employer and service provider decision-making; and,
    Better use of and connections to government supports.

Funding for this and other projects is provided through the Province of BC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities across BC through partnerships, shared information, technology and innovation.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Sher Vancouver launches its one of a kind Pink Directory!



Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver has released the inaugural edition of Sher’s Pink Directory. This directory lists organizations that directly fund and support the 2SLGBTQ+ community of Metro Vancouver.

The directory was compiled by UBC law student Janice Lu who was hired by Sher Vancouver as an intern to complete this valuable community project. This directory is being made available free of charge to the general public and local 2SLGBTQ+ organizations. You can download a copy from the official Sher Vancouver website at:

The directory has approximately 60 listings and is divided into the following sections:

  • Corporations
  • Government
  • Charities and Foundations
  • Scholarships and Awards
  • Unions
  • Other Funders
  • Non-Financial Support

Sher’s Pink Directory will enhance the ability of local 2SLGBTQ + organizations to access the support and financial assistance they need to better support the 2SLGBTQ + community.

The 2SLGBTQ + community continuously experiences hardship and adversity. Sher Vancouver Founder, Alex Sangha, points out that a major issue 2SLGBTQ + organizations face is difficulty obtaining financial support to sustain programs and services. This leads to limited support and resources for fellow members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community – many of whom are very vulnerable, marginalized, and alienated and in critical need.

Sher’s Pink Directory is one small step towards filling this funding gap. If you would like your organization to be included in the next edition of Sher’s Pink Directory please email

Sher’s Pink Directory is designed by local Vancouver graphic designer, Jaskamal Singh. Her website is:


Sher’s Pink Directory is part of a three-part series designed to provide information to the 2SLGBTQ + community. This three-part series project consists of:

1. Legal Resources Kit

Legal Resource Kit consists of three documents:

  •  LGBTQ + Friendly Lawyer Referrals
  •  Information Regarding Human Rights
  • Safe Countries for LGBTQ + Travellers

2. Queersome Desi

Resources (South Asian Queer Resources from around the world)

3. Sher’s Pink

Directory (Organizations that fund and support the 2SLGBTQ + community in Metro Vancouver)

The resources are available for free download for everyone on the Sher Vancouver website under RESOURCES at the following link:

Directory is also attached for your convenience , View pdf file.

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SellOffVacations Announces the Reopening of its Retail Stores Across Canada



Surrey location and manager Yogita Raniga at 15355 24 Avenue (Peninsula Village), V4A 2H9

Following months of closures due to the effects of COVID-19, SellOffVacations has announced that its retail stores will be reopening their doors on Monday, September 14. With 30 locations from coast to coast, the travel experts at SellOffVacations are looking forward to welcoming back customers and helping them plan their highly-anticipated future getaways.

“We’re excited to be reopening our doors in communities all across Canada,” said Stuart Morris, General Manager, Retail, for SellOffVacations. “For over three decades, we have been providing expert travel advice in local communities from coast to coast. Over the last month, our agents have called and spoken to thousands of clients and we know that people are eager to talk about travel. With our stores reopening, our travel experts are looking forward to continuing these conversations, helping customers plan future getaways, and answering any questions they may have in these uncertain times.”

Numerous health and safety protocols have been put in place at each retail store to ensure the safety of both customers and employees. New measures include enhanced sanitation protocols, frequent disinfection of high-touch surfaces, plastic barriers between desks, use of masks according to local bylaws and regulations, physical distancing reminders throughout the store, and a maximum store capacity of six customers to help promote physical distancing.

Contactless methods of communication are also available so that customers have the option to meet with their travel agent over the phone, email, or video conferencing.

To help Canadians plan their return to travel, SellOffVacations is offering customers incredible offers with a variety of vacation options – including hundreds of free upgrades. Whether travellers want to plan an adventure in Canada, a sunny escape to the Caribbean, or a European river cruise, SellOffVacations’ travel experts can help them plan a safe and unforgettable vacation.

About SellOffVacations

SellOffVacations has been providing affordable travel services to Canadians for over 30 years. Established in 1979, SellOffVacations helps tens of thousands of Canadians book their dream getaway every year. SellOffVacations has stores from St John’s to Victoria, with dedicated travel experts available to help customers book getaways in person, online, or over the phone. Preferred partnerships with major travel providers allow SellOffVacations to offer Canadians discount flights, vacation packages, cruises, coach tours, hotels, car rentals, and more in destinations all around the world.

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Why Would Companies Use Identify Verification in Their Business



Whether dealing with customers through a website, a web app, mobile app, or over the phone, knowing who they are can improve the business relationship. But there are other benefits to being able to check the identity of a new customer.

Here we lay out the reasons why ID checks are helpful, even for newer businesses that might see it as too much trouble to integrate.

Lower Fraud Rates

Companies of all sizes worry about the increase in fraud, especially with the online business done at a distance. The ability to remain anonymous while dealing with businesses poses a considerable risk, especially to smaller businesses that cannot survive a significant amount of fraud in the first few months.

By using a knowledge-based authentication system, it’s possible to clarify who the person is that’s placing an order through their business. This avoids the risk of accepting payments and dispatching goods, which initially looks good but is subsequently rejected by the bank.

Faster Completed Transactions

The approval process for getting started with a new business customer is time-consuming. There are several checks needed, sometimes across more than one system to verify enough details to authorize their account and let the transaction go ahead.

A company like Cognito HQ offers detailed verification services that match up a phone number and name to existing records to verify that the person exists. Cognito helps to prevent fraud and has industry-leading match rates.

Other information that is already known relating to their identity correlated with their phone number helps to round out their customer profile. Be using these types of verification services, the account can pass several early checks before the new customers get too far ahead in the sign-up and ordering processes. It also speeds up the final approval to go ahead with their order when breaking up the verification into different stages.

Separates Serious Users from Casual Ones

It is difficult for companies to know when a mobile user is seriously invested in the brand and app, or if they only occasionally use it.

While the business will likely have useful information to know how often the app is loaded, they aren’t inside the mind of the user themselves. Therefore, by requiring confirmation of basic identifying information from the user to access higher-level features, it separates the wheat from the chaff. As a result of that, the business now can readily work more closely with identified, verified users.

Unfussy Integration into Existing Apps

It’s not necessary to invest huge sums into the development of a verification system.

Look for companies that provide an SDK to developers. An SDK package lets third-party developers add code that allows for encrypted communication to verify the information entered already.

This is a cost-effective way of turning an app with unverified users into one divided between users who are verified already and those who are not (or who failed the checks).

User identification combined with verification brings mobile apps to the next level. Companies should readily embrace this technology to advance their relationship with their users and increase their fraud protection too.

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Canada’s Most Popular Investing Companies in 2020



The world is in chaos right now. COVID-19 continues to spread unchecked south of the border. Second-wave fears are rising. Protests are raging from Oregon to Belarus. And, through all of this, climate change never stopped being a problem.

Yet, despite widespread job losses and more uncertainty than ever, markets are BOOMING. What is going on here? Like anything in the real world, it’s complicated. However, rapid government intervention, housebound retail investors, and the race for a COVID cure have all played a role.

Despite COVID, Investing is Hotter Than Ever

When the economy melts down, it usually has real consequences for investors. The Global Financial Crisis, which ravaged portfolios just a decade ago, offers a textbook example. During that dark time, banks “too-big-to-fail” were on the verge of collapsing like dominoes.

Already, Lehman Brothers had succumbed, having suffocated under the weight of its subprime mortgages. Suddenly, banks around the world were looking at their books – and were quietly panicking. Retail investors and homeowners were stampeding for the exits. Unemployment soared to almost 9%.

Against this backdrop, the TSX lost more than 40% of its value, peak-to-trough. It was a vicious blow that took traders seven years to recover from.

Now, let’s compare that to the stock market of 2020. By February, the reality was setting in – COVID was spreading uncontrollably around the world. A spike in infections was pushing Italy’s health care system to the brink. With no other options, that country started locking down its citizens. As March dawned, the disease forced Spain and other European countries to follow suit.

2020’s gains vanished within a month. Then, in March, Canada, the US, and the rest of the world locked down hard. Traders freaked out – from March 4 to March 23, the TSX plunged from 16,780 to 11,230. If you’re not keeping score at home, that’s a 33% drop in less than three weeks.

All seemed lost – until something truly unexpected happened.

An angel came to the rescue of investors – its name was the Federal Reserve. Without delay, they began pumping massive amounts of liquidity into the market. Eventually, traders realized what was happening and stopped panicking. Suddenly, they saw “bargains” all around them. Six months later, stocks have almost completely recovered.

However, institutional investors don’t deserve all the credit. Thanks to easily-accessible online investing apps & brokerages, quarantined Canadians have also done their part. Many high-paid professionals continued to do their jobs from home, so they had the capital to invest. Even those who got furloughed bot in on the action, thanks mostly to the CERB program.

Bored at home, Canadians downloaded apps like Wealthsimple and got busy trading. Through them, they’ve pumped cash into markets – sometimes with eyebrow-raising results. As you would expect, Delta Airlines got whacked in the COVID crash. However, after bottoming out, their price suddenly jumped from $22 to $32 per share. Despite a bleak outlook for travel, low-information investors armed with investment accounts piled into DAL. At press time, DAL continues to hover in the low 30s.

Now, we don’t condone buying any-old stock without doing extensive research. We only bring this up to highlight a truth – investing has never been so easy.

What Are The Top Canadian Investing Companies Right Now?

Canadians have scores of investment options at their fingertips. Online, you’ll find loads of internet brokerages, investing apps, and robo advisors. But this same abundance of options makes it tough to pick the right provider.

For instance, in the battle of Wealthsimple fees vs Questrade fees – who wins? The amount of necessary research can be daunting for the uninitiated. We still recommend putting in the hours – your needs are different from ours. But, if you want to get off to a fast start, we recommend checking out the following services:

1) Virtual Brokers – Want to take a hands-on approach to invest? Virtual Brokers is one of the best platforms you can use. Within this platform, you’ll find a well-stocked research center. This perk offers timely insights on market issues, as well as expert technical analysis. Unlike many competitors, Virtual Brokers offer free ETF trades. If you have more than $1,000 to invest, you can get started today.

2) CI Direct Investing – Investing in public companies can be problematic. Often, they make decisions based on satisfying shareholders while ignoring long-term needs. Private companies don’t have this issue, but they used to be tough to invest in. Not anymore – today, CI Direct Investing (formerly WealthBar) offers access to private investment portfolios. You can also invest in public equities, but the availability of private funds makes CI Direct worth their slightly higher fees. This firm, unlike recent newcomers, also has a long track record. With more than 40 years of experience, they’re less likely to make “rookie mistakes”.

3) Wealthsimple – This company is one of the best-known Robo advisers out there. With operations in America, Europe, and now Canada, they have over $5 billion in assets under management. They got their foot in the door with a slick mobile interface, but it’s their low ETF MER fees that have retained customers. With an average of 0.2%, they boast one of the lowest fees in the industry. And with no account minimum, you can start putting your money to work tomorrow.

4) Questrade – As Wealthsimple’s chief rival, Questrade also offers attractive incentives to investors. It starts with their ETF MER, which edges out Wealthsimple’s at 0.19%. Other fees are similarly low, with a peak of 0.35% for their socially-responsible portfolio. On top of this, new customers can get their first $10,000 managed for free during their first year. Their biggest drawback? Unlike Wealthsimple, you need $1,000 to open an investment account.

5) ModernAdvisor – Want to ensure that the best-of-the-best is managing your portfolio? When it comes to Robo advisors, ModernAdvisor tops our list. This firm only hires CFA charterholders – to get this designation, ModernAdvisor’s professionals need to pass an intensive, multi-year course. CFAs are also well-versed in ethics. If you’re looking for a socially responsible platform, ModernAdvisor is an excellent choice.

Money Never Sleeps - Not Even During a Pandemic

No matter the economic weather, there’s always money to be made. By selecting one of the investing platforms mentioned above, you can start putting your capital to work for you ASAP.

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How 5 Businesses in Surrey Are Turning Around During COVID



After a challenging six months, Surrey businesses are continuing to push forward and find new ways to reach their customers. Here are a few local businesses that have been making changes to their business structure to reintroduce customers!


Exercise is a great way to beat the blues, especially during a global pandemic. Unfortunately for many gym-goers, finding ways to exercise has been a challenge over the last few months. As gyms and studios reopened in June, changes and adaptations have been made to fit the needs of the facilities. Local spin trainers, Spinhouse, have made extra efforts to ensure both their South Surrey and Fleetwood studios are in immaculate shape. These measures include deep cleanings, restricted class sizes, and limited amenities. Guests are expected to follow procedures and sanitize surfaces regularly for operations to continue. Burn off some stress and book a spin class today!

Joseph Richard Group

Following the closure of restaurants in mid-March, Joseph Richard Group was quick to adapt their business strategy. To support staff and keep customers happy, JRG implemented several new offerings that brought the restaurant experience one step closer to home. JRG launched its new liquor delivery app, LIQR. LIQR’s virtual store offers a huge selection of beer, wine, and spirits to choose from, as well as a variety of craft cocktail kits that can be delivered right to customer doors. In addition to the LIQR app, JRG also released a new range of deliverable DIY meal kits. These kits offered a great way to serve up a home-cooked meal without having to go purchase ingredients. Although restaurants are now reopened for service, JRG continues to offer home deliverables for those who are most comfortable at home.

Basant Motors

While buying a new vehicle might not be for everyone right now, there remain customers who require a new vehicle, making car dealers an essential service! Basant Motors has been accepting appointments for customers so that they may safely look at the vehicles available. With new measures in place and strict sanitization, Basant Motors has been able to welcome guests back to the auto shop. The company has put out a kind message, offering help to those who are in need. Those who are struggling to afford essential items are encouraged to reach out to Basant Motors and ask for help, free of any judgment.

Peddemors Group

Similar to cars, houses have remained an essential service throughout the past few months. Local Realtors, Peddemors Group, have found a way to continue showing their homes while managing the ongoing pandemic. In response to the community shutdown, Peddemeors has been launching virtual open houses across Surrey! Using their Facebook group as a source, Peddemors has been able to show clients entire homes without any of the social risks. The rise of virtual showings is expected to be seen across the province as more people opt to stay home.


Located at the heart of Surrey’s City Centre, Civic hotel has taken the time to craft new protocols to increase the cleanliness of the hotel and ensure the safety of all guests. These new protocols have included heightened cleaning and sanitizing processes, using Marriott-approved, hospital-grade disinfectant cleaners, as well as new cleaning technologies. All rooms are cleared for a minimum of 48 hours before new guests enter, as well as a new requirement for facial coverings in public hotel spaces. To keep guests well-fed, Civic is now offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner with in-room dining served right to your hotel room. Each guest will receive a digital PDF of the menu to promote a touchless experience. Civic is excited to welcome back guests and ensure a safe but enjoyable staycation!

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