congratulations CPA

Our Newest CPA, Jodi Vandergaag

EPR Trillium LLP is delighted to announce our newest Chartered Professional Accountant. Jodi Vandergaag, CPA CGA was accepted into membership in The Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario on August 24, 2018. The partners and staff of EPR Trillium congratulate Jodi on this tremendous achievement which is a testament to her intelligence, hard work, and dedication to her career and the profession of accounting in Canada.

Jodi started her journey to CPA when she completed her Bachelor of Management and Organizational Studies degree from Western University in 2013. Jodi joined the firm (then known as Sleegers Kirkwood-Pearce, Professional Corporation) that same year and has served in many capacities during the ensuing five years. She continued her studies through the CPA educational program over the years, completing all of the necessary examinations successfully. This past year, Jodi completed the final step by obtaining all of the necessary experience required to be accepted as a member in CPA Ontario.

This is a major milestone in Jodi’s career but it is only the start of what we are all certain will be a long and brilliant career in the accounting profession. All of the partners and staff at EPR Trillium are delighted to have Jodi join the ranks of our dedicated professionals as we serve the needs of individuals, small to medium sized business and not for profit organizations throughout London and surrounding areas.

Well done Jodi!

Over $7,000 raised for the MS Bike Tour 2018

EPR Trillium Pacers hit the country roads of Southwestern Ontario for the seventh consecutive year and the weather for this year’s ride was perfect both Saturday and Sunday.

Team EPR Trillium consisted of 17 members with many returning riders. This year we welcomed seven new riders who were participating in their first MS Bike Tour. As in the past, our team met at the Sobey’s store parking lot in Grand Bend Saturday morning for pictures by Bill Sleegers, our official team photographer.
This year the team raised $7,086.00. This brings the total amount raised in support of MS research since we have been participating in the ride to $48,383.00.

The team after party provided the opportunity to enjoy some food and refreshment as well as time to share the experiences of the previous two days of riding. A big thank you to Sandy and Keith for hosting again. The MS Bike Tour is an event that we all look forward to each year and we fully expect to have an even bigger team next year.

Thanks to all the riders and their sponsors for making this year’s event a great success!

Dancing in the Rayne

Recently EPR Trillium was given the opportunity to support an event that was very close to home. Needham School of Dance in Strathroy, Ontario put on a fundraising show in support of Childcan. The event was titled “Dancing in the Rayne” in honour of one of their young students who is battling a rare form of brain tumour that while noncancerous, requires 70 weeks of chemotherapy treatment. Rayne is niece to EPR Trillium staff member and “dance mom” Valerie Wilson who’s daughter has been dancing with Needham School of Dance for 16 years and plans to attend college for dance in the fall.

It was a great opportunity to enjoy dozens of talented dancers across a variety of styles while also giving back to the community and supporting a great organization. Staff and family members were in attendance both in the audience and backstage helping with the event. The event was extremely successful and raised over $13,000 for Childcan! Thank you to everyone who came out to support Rayne’s family while making an impact in your community.

Event Photos:

Jeff Showler Racing

We were given another opportunity to sponsor Jeff Showler in the 2018 Oscaar Modified Tour by having the EPR Trillium brand on Jeff’s car and racing suit.  Prior to joining up with EPR Trillium LLP the firm of SKP (Sleegers Kirkwood Pearce) sponsored Jeff and his team a few years back during a successful season in which he won 2 championships.

This year’s tour goes north of Toronto and so do the fans from our area.  Sunset speedway, Kawartha Speedway the brand new Jukasa Motor Speedway in Cayuga and many others will attract thousands of fans from all over Southwestern Ontario because of the cars, the horsepower and the facilities. The fact is, if you want to watch the best run, you have to travel or wait until they are at your local track to watch them.

We’re excited to have the opportunity to support the local racing community and wish Jeff all the best in his 2018 racing season!

Be sure to follow the racing season on Instagram and Facebook.




Our team is growing!

Over the past few months EPR Trillium has welcomed many new faces to the team. Here we’ve gathered everyone together at the London office for a team photo. You can learn more about some of our newest team members at each office here: London, Dorchester and Aylmer.

EPR Trillium LLP Chartered Professional Accountants formally began operations in January 2016, after four independent partners merged to become the largest EPR accounting firm in Ontario. Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce CPA CGA, Chris Button CPA CGA, Joanne Haagsma CPA CMA and Don Di Carlo CPA CGA are the four partners who created EPR Trillium LLP, on November 26, 2015. Four separate practices joined forces to created one large practice unit with 25 employees and an extensive list of clients, both personal and corporate.


EPR Trillium Team Sponsors the BPW London Dinner

EPR Trillium LLP staff in attendance – left to right: Joanne Haagsma (Partner, Dorchester), Dilpreet Singh (London), Tracey Neves (London), Valarie Wilson (Dorchester), Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce (Partner, London), Justine Wright (London), Ingrid McDonald (London), Lisa Mervis (Aylmer) and Kaitlin Lem (London)

EPR Trillium LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants sponsored the BPW London dinner meeting held on Tuesday, March 20th at Windermere Manor.

This evening was part of BPW’s current Speaker Series Dinners that address the overall theme of “Mental Health: Stigma or Real Life?”. The topic for the evening was – “Are You Exercising Both Mentally & Physically as You Age? “. The event was sponsored by EPR Trillium LLP and Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce, Partner out of our London office was given the exciting opportunity to speak at the event, and gave a brief overview of EPR Trillium LLP ahead of the main speaker.

Business and Professional Women London (BPWL) have been making a difference in London’s business community and overall work-life experience since 1945. Women from all walks of life and all ages come together through BPW London for Professional Development, Supportive Networking, Leadership Opportunities and to address Working Women’s Issues.

EPR Trillium LLP and Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce

BPW also stands for Building & Supporting, Promoting & Influencing, Worldwide Networking. BPW International is a global organization founded in 1930 and it serves to advance professional woman in all the areas highlighted above. BPW London is a member of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women as well as The Business and Professional Women’s Clubs of Ontario.

Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce, Partner with EPR Trillium LLP has been a member since 1995 and fully supports the goals and objectives of BPW London. All three offices of EPR Trillium LLP were represented at the event.

Shown right: Sandy Kirkwood-Pearce, BPW member addressing the audience.

Learn more about BPW Canada’s Coalition to Empower Women at

Changes to Ontario’s Labour Laws

Ontario’s Liberal government passed a multitude of changes to the labour laws – “Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017”. These will be amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Listed below are some (but not all) of the highlights of the legislation:

  • Minimum wage increases from $11.60 an hour to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018, then to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019 and is subject to an annual inflation adjustment on Oct. 1 of every year starting in 2019.
  • After five years of employment, the employee is entitled to three weeks’ vacation.
  • Public Holiday pay calculation has been amended and is to be based on the number of days actually worked in the pay period immediately preceding the public holiday.
  • Personal emergency leave no longer only applies to workers at companies with 50 or more employees. All workers will get 10 days per year leave, with two of them paid.
  • Casual, part-time, temporary and season employees will be given the same pay as full-time employees for doing equal work; exemptions with seniority and merit.
  • Victims of domestic or sexual violence, or parents of children who have experienced or are threatened with it, will get five days of paid leave and 17 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave.
  • Employers will not be allowed to request a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave.
  • Parents whose children have died will get unpaid leave up to 104 weeks.
  • Employers must pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours’ notice, with weather-dependent work exempted.
  • Employees can refuse shifts without repercussion if the employer gives them less than four days’ notice.
  • Employees on call must be paid three hours at their regular rate.
  • Companies that misclassify workers as “independent contractors” instead of employees (to skirt labour law obligations) would be subject to fines.
  • The maximum fine for employers who violate employment standards laws will be increased from $250, $500 and $1,000 for various violations to $350, $700 and $1,500.00. Also, the government will publish the names of those who are fined.
  • Ease restrictions on union certification and allow unions to access employee lists and certain contract information if the union can demonstrate it has the support of 20% of employees.
  • Makes it easier for the home care community services workers, people in the building services sector, and those who work through temp. agencies to unionize.
  • The maximum fines under the Labour Relations Act will increase from $2,000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations to $5,000 and $100,000.

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Proposed Tax Changes

Proposed Tax Changes

The Canadian Government has released draft legislation that could affect entrepreneurs and private corporations. Here’s what you need to know.

On July 18, 2017 the Government of Canada released draft legislation aimed at private companies and their shareholders. The proposals are still in draft form and the government has been accepting comments and criticism. Many of the proposals are slated to be effective on January 1, 2018. The changes focus on the following three issues.

1. Income Sprinkling

From a legal point of view, dividends are to be paid to owners of a particular class of shares based upon the decisions of the company’s board of directors. Many family owned companies have different classes of shares owned by different family members. These companies can then declare dividends to low-income family members, so the family may spread income amongst family members effectively lowering the family’s overall tax burden. This technique is called income sprinkling.

The draft legislation considers imposing a series of reasonability tests to determine if the dividends were paid to family members who were actively involved in the business. The tests include:

  • Examining the age of the recipient, as younger taxpayers are less likely to be principally involved in the business,
  • Assessing how much capital the recipient invested in the company, and
  • Determining if the recipient is active in the business daily and on a full-time basis.

If the taxpayer fails any of the tests, the provisions will deem the dividends to be taxed at the highest marginal rate, as if they were earned by the principal shareholder.

2. Tax on Passive Income in Corporations

A discussion paper was released by the federal government which addressed perceived tax benefits that private corporations have over unincorporated businesses. The discussion paper suggested radical changes to the taxation of passive investment income earned by a private corporation.

The paper proposed removing the capital dividend account entirely, and replacing the refundable tax mechanism with a non-refundable corporate tax at the highest marginal tax rate. The result would be a greatly increased corporate tax payable and a higher tax cost of investing within a corporate structure versus investing as an individual.

3. Use of Trusts to Access Capital Gains Exemption

Sometimes taxpayers wish to pass ownership of an incorporated business on to their children. Currently, various tax-efficient methods are used to achieve this goal. The draft legislation targets tax planning methods that crystallize a taxpayer’s Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) on non-arm’s length transactions. These situations include where an individual sells shares of a small business corporation to another private corporation that they are in some way related to, or where a trust sells those shares to another corporation and allocates the capital gains to its beneficiaries.

The draft legislation proposes that the LCGE only be available where individuals complete a sale of private corporation shares to any arm’s length entity or to non-arm’s length individuals therefore excluding any sales to non-arm’s length corporations. It proposes that, where the result of the transaction is to create non-taxed capital gains, any cash or debt paid to non-arm’s length persons on the sale be treated as a dividend. It will also reduce the cost basis of the shares sold to non-arm’s length persons to the cost of the shares before the non-arm’s length transaction.


The provisions in the draft legislation and discussion paper are complex and appear to target entrepreneurs and private corporations. If you have any questions, please contact Christopher Button, Partner, or any other team member at EPR Trillium LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants to discuss how the proposed changes will impact your business and financial wellbeing. Remember, your peace of mind is our purpose.

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The EPR Trillium Pacers Raise $6,555 for MS

EPR Trillium LLP is proud to report that the Pacers rode again in the MS Bike Ride from Grand Bend to London and back to Grand Bend for the SIXTH consecutive year on July 29nd and 30th, 2017. Maintaining a strong connection to the communities we serve and giving back in ways that promote healthy, active choices for our team remains a core corporate principle and participation in the MS Bike ride is one such activity.

You will recall this is an event to raise funds to help both support MS patients and with research to end the disease once and for all. There are various events around the country but the Grand Bend to London to Grand Bend event is one of the very biggest with some 1,600 riders meandering along the quite back roads of Southwestern Ontario. Over the two days, riders cover a total of more than 150 kilometers and there are many prominent teams represented, including EPR Trillium’s Pacers.

This year, we had a total of 11 riders. Leading the way were Liz Neal, Keith Pearce, and Al Neal all returning for a sixth straight event. Other EPR Trillium team members riding were rookies Ash El Khodier (EPR Trillium London) and Collin Pearce (EPR Trillium London). Riders who have been with us for many trips along Southwest Ontario’s rural roads include Rick Malton, Luke Edwards (who rides for his sister who has MS and can’t ride for herself), David Rush, and Randy Green. Other rookies this year included, Maralyn Young and Mohammed Abou Ghalwa.

The weather both days for the ride was quite good, no rain and not too hot but every rider swore that they faced a strong head wind both days no matter what direction they turned. There are of course many MS sufferers who ride the route as well so we, who are healthy, admired their drive, stamina, and determination not just for this ride but for coping on a day to day basis with MS.

The team recognizes the achievement of Ash who has only recently taken to bicycling and never ridden very far previously and Mohammed who rode the route on a bike that was less than ideal for such a long trip. The team also is more than thankful that David as the older rider in the group, who continues to ride as well as anyone on the team. Accolades also go to Maralyn and Collin for taking on the challenge and embracing it enthusiastically. Neither one of them complained at all about their aches and pains maintaining great spirits all along the way.

The real action hero of the weekend was Randy who only recently had been in hospital with a major surgery and managed to come back and ride so well in such as short recovery time. Randy is an inspiration to everyone who suffers a huge set back but picks themselves up and gets back to living life to the fullest.

Of course, the real purpose of the effort was to raise funds for MS and we did that to the tune of almost $7,000, bringing our six year total to over $42,000. We are all most proud of this and congratulate David who once again raised the most funds!

After the long ride, the team retired to Sandy and Keith’s condo to enjoy some well-earned beverage refreshments and food.

Special thanks go; to Sandy who sacrificed her saddle time to take pictures as our official photographer as well cook a great meal; to Chris and Nancy Button (EPR Trillium – Aylmer) for being such a huge help at the after party; and to Joanne and Ken Haagsma (EPR Trillium – Dorchester) for bringing a special desert. We say this every year but it is true every year, Liz Neal is the best Team Leader ever, but most of all, thanks to everyone who sponsored our team – it was an amazing team effort!

Click to learn more about the MS Bike Ride and the MS Society of Canada.

Learn how to manage financial success during retirement

The goal of a presentation on January 17th is to provide education and peace of mind for people as they enter a certain stage of life. Managing Your Finances in Retirement will assist individuals in planning properly. The free session is being presented by Dorchester Terrace by Sifton, along with two financial literacy volunteers: Joanne Haagsma, CPA CMA from EPR Trillium LLP chartered professional accountants in Dorchester and Chris Button, CPA CGA, who is a partner from their Aylmer office.

Denise Winger, the general manager of the Dorchester Terrace retirement residence, which is on schedule to open on Byron Avenue in June, pointed out one of the roadblocks as people head into retirement is that sometimes children who have power of attorney over their parents’ estate know that they are set financially, but the parents aren’t completely confident.

She said that generally people are more prepared than they used to be, but additional information will help put them in a perfect position to enjoy their retirement. Some people need to be reminded that when they’re moving into a retirement residence, there are no longer heat and hydro bills or taxes to pay, which should factor into the planning process. Even though their home might be paid for, they don’t live in it for free.

Winger was looking at businesses in the area and came across Haagsma’s name and thought it would be ideal to have someone local, who is a member of Thames Centre Business Association, involved with the event.

The goal for the presentation is to have about 30 or 40 people who don’t have a lot of experience or a high level of comfort dealing with finances attend.

Haagsma and Button will give an interactive presentation. They hope to alleviate some of the concerns people have about their financial position in retirement and provide strategies to help them be more proactive about their planning.

Haagsma said that people are living longer and they’re healthier and more active than in the past. Managing finances is even more important because they need to make their money last a longer period of time. It can be especially difficult for people who are on a fixed income.

The presenters will review benefits retired individuals are entitled to, discuss withdrawing money from retirement income funds, tax credits and benefits, stretching retirement resources, types of investments to consider, pension splitting and also estate planning, although the focus is mostly about living well right now.

Haagsma said they will also cover fraudulent services. The number of calls they get about someone notifying them that they owe money to the Canada Revenue Agency is increasing.

Source: The Dorchester Signpost – Written by Wendy Spence

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EPR Trillium LLP is now...

We have proudly served London, Dorchester, Aylmer and the surrounding area for many years.
Through this time the needs of our client base have continued to grow and change.
In order to meet these needs and provide more value added services going forward, we have joined with another
Baker Tilly Canada member firm to form Baker Tilly Trillium LLP. We will continue to provide
a superior level of service and maintain our individual approach to helping both our personal and business clients.

Now, for tomorrow