Minutes of Meeting, Jan 29, 2016
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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:08 pm

Minutes of Meeting, Jan 29, 2016

by andjelka » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:24 pm

Welcome Group of New Diplomats in Ottawa
(CLO Group Ottawa)
Minutes of the meeting
on January 29, 2016, 2:30pm, at Georgian Embassy Ottawa
1. Andjelka Vidovic (Embassyservices) - President
2. Rosa Costa (Portugal)
3. Ketevan Fraser (Georgia)
4. Maureen Kleniewski (UK)
5. Minnes Miloslava (Czech Republic)
6. Diana Bienvenue (Denmark)
7. Steffen Ringwald (Germany) – Secretary
1. Annette Moser (Switzerland)
1. Welcome and introduction of CLO group
2. Review minutes of previous meeting
3. Review of Action Points status
4. Status of guest speakers
5. Out-of-office activities of CLO Group
6. Miscellaneous (floor open for actual questions, concerns, ideas)
7. Guest speaker: Joseph Charbel, Cash Management Specialist, Bank of Montreal
about Canadian Banking System
1. Welcome and introduction of CLO group
President opened the meeting; no new members could be welcomed. It was discussed, that
obviously local employed staff, who are dealing with newcomers, are not sent by their
embassies to the CLO meetings. A letter to Ambassadors of all embassies and an article in the
“Embassy News” could engage embassies to send their relevant staff to the meetings.
2. Review minutes of previous meeting
The minutes were sent out prior to the meeting. No objections.
3. Review of Action Point status
a) Set up forum under www.embassyservices.org and distribute password – President
Done. Members needs to be registered under http://www.embassyservices.org/forum/
b) Organize Beerbust in December – President
c) Distribute contacts of HSBC for diplomatic bank accounts – President
d) Organize accountant for presentation – Maureen
Under process.
e) Distribute contacts of Royal Bank of Canada for diplomatic bank accounts – Maureen
RBC offers a special program for diplomats to open a bank account. The contacts are:
Myriam Sepulveda, Email: [email protected]
f) Set up a meeting room for next meeting (date open) – Ketevan
g) Organize a guest speaker about Canadian Tax System – Tara
Under process.
h) Contact BMO and ask for a presentation about Canadian Bank System, as well as about
conditions to open account for diplomats – Steffen
i) Distribute email contact to apply for airport passes – Erim
4. Status of guest speakers
A (semi) annual plan of guest speakers to the CLO Group should be organized. Topics of guest
speakers could be: tax system, legal rights and police system, real estate agents, school
system and insurance system. Andjelka will contact relevant people in this regards.
The group discussed the embarrassing situation, if guest speakers talk to a small amount of
meeting attendees and suggested that members have to enroll themselves to the meetings
with guest speakers in advance. Once registered to the meeting, members are highly asked
to attend.
5. Out-of-office activities of CLO Group
Due to lack of time, this was not discussed.
6. Miscellaneous (floor open for actual questions, concerns, ideas)
- Kate asked about double tax agreement in-between Canada and other countries and about
tax certificates, which are sometimes very unclear. Maureen pointed out, that all the tax
related information can be found in the internet. Further on an accountant, who still needs
to be organized as a guest speaker, can certainly provide additional information. Depending
on the income, tax and social insurance have to be paid from 15 % up of the salary.
- Rosa asked about child care and where diplomats can find a Kindergarten. Maureen
answered with public Kindergarten in Ottawa, which provide all day child care for free of
charge. These can be found on the webpage of the Ottawa-Carlton District School Board
http://www.ocdsb.ca/programs/. A waiting list system applies. Further on there are private
nursery schools available. They can be found on this webpage, too.
7. Guest speaker: Joseph Charbel, Cash Management Specialist, Bank of Montreal
about Canadian Banking System
Joseph was introduced by Steffen and welcomed by the group. He briefly introduced the
Canadian banking system and explained that BMO provides different programs for different
people, e.g. students, refugees, diplomats …
There are several options to transfer money from one account to another, within Canada.
The Check-System is very common, but the Internet Banking and other electronic money
transfer provider become more and more popular. A check can be withdrawn within 6
To open an account at BMO, diplomats have to submit a letter of their embassy, containing
information about their diplomatic status, their duration of posting in Ottawa and the
amount of their salary. Further on two types of identification are necessary, e.g. diplomatic
passport, driving license. The account can be opened at all BMO branch offices, but Joseph
prefers to do so in the head office, downtown Ottawa. A SIN number is not required.
A credit card with a credit limit up to CAD 5,000 can be issued, even without having an
account with BMO and without any previous bank or credit history. Independent from which
country the diplomat comes from. A credit card cannot be issued to an embassy itself.
Joseph explained the most inexpensive way to transfer money from abroad to Canada is
through Accu-Rate. To transfer money from Canada abroad, BMO charges fees as follow:
CAD 10.00 plus 0,2% of the amount, minimum CAD 15.00, maximum 125.00 CAD. To follow
the almost worldwide existing money laundry rules, BMO will ask where the money comes
from, if the transferred amount is CAD 10,000 or higher. A short verbal statement by the
account owner is enough to convince the bank.
The group asked what to do, if a company (e.g. Telus, Rogers) continues to debit money from
the bank account, even the contract was duly terminated. Joseph urgently advised to ask for
a written confirmation of the termination. He said that happens often with bank, phone, gas
and power companies. The bank can be instructed to stop the payment. But without a
written confirmation the account owner can slip quickly into a negative credit history, which
can cause problems with a new credit card application and with opening a new bank
Steffen Ringwald

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