2012 is a year to be smart here!

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In the past I took some time to highlight some of the functions of our lobby or waiting area, which you can read about here. But oops – I missed something: our bulletin board! Our bulletin board is a relatively big part of our lobby that we try to fill with social services event listings, any new updates to social assistance recipients or low-income individuals, job postings, and current rental housing lists.

Recently I set up a new display on our bulletin board that focuses on one of the twelve themes in the 2012 Smart Consumer Calendar. Here’s a picture of it to give you an idea:

Though you can't read all the words it gives you a small glimpse at all the tips I've tried to share.

Debt is something that most people living in North America are familiar with.  Credit cards bills, mortgages and student loans all pile up and need to be paid each month.  For people who lose their jobs these bills keep coming.  Many people are employed seasonally, so a lack of snow this year also means a lacking paycheck.

Maybe this month you only have enough money to pay one bill, so you choose your hydro bill, and you have to let your phone bill slide – you have to prioritize what is important.  Maybe next month, it’s a different bill that needs to be put on hold. You hope there is a new job for you next week, but it doesn’t arrive.  What does show up is a very strongly worded letter from a collection agency.

Sometimes finding a place to turn to for help can be overwhelming while you’re trying to sort things out. While we don’t have a clear idea of what the debt issues are of the people who turn to us, the attention the display on the board has been getting is significant.

But tips on how to deal with collection agencies and your rights as a consumer are just one of the twelve helpful themes available in this calendar. There are many more topics for me to cover on our bulletin board, from tips on budgeting to tips on dealing with high energy bills.

Therefore over the next year I plan on highlighting five more of these themes on our bulletin board. Any suggestions on which one I should pick next? Here’s the list you have to choose from:

  • January: Protecting Retirement Home Residents
  • February: When Collection Agencies Come Calling
  • March: Beware of Health Care Fraud
  • April: Plug in Safely
  • May: Are You Buying or Selling a Home?
  • June: Take Charge of Your Energy Costs
  • July: Funeral and Cemetery Services – New Law
  • August: What You Need to Know About Condominiums
  • September: Payday Loans: Quick Cash Comes at a Cost
  • October: Auto Insurance Fraud Costs Us All
  • November: Stay Out of Hot Water
  • December: Exercise Your Rights When You Join a Gym

If you want to read more information on one or all of these themes before making a decision, or for your own personal interest, you can view the calendar online by clicking here. Currently the calendar is only available online because the Ministry of Consumer Services has distributed all of the print copies for the year. But with the wealth of information in these few pages I’d recommend printing off a copy for yourself if you weren’t able to order a printed copy. And please don’t be shy to cast your vote on which of the remaining eleven choices should be the next posted topic on our bulletin board.

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One Response to “2012 is a year to be smart here!”

  1. Ron Flaming Says:

    great idea!

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