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Monthly Archives: March 2017

What Should Businesses Do to Prepare for Potential NAFTA Changes?

The future of the NAFTA may be up in the air as formal negotiations for a policy overhaul are forthcoming with the United States. NAFTA, which has been in force since 1994, created the world’s largest free trade area, and retooling the agreement could have a major impact on Canada’s economy, labour market and global supply chains.

Since its inception, NAFTA has removed barriers and encouraged the flow of goods and labour between Canada, the United States and Mexico. This is because, after NAFTA, imported items were no longer taxed, creating less expensive goods and encouraging trade. As a result, U.S. trade among Mexico and Canada has effectively tripled.

While the future of NAFTA is unclear at this time, businesses should not wait for sweeping changes to occur. Instead, organizations can prepare for NAFTA revisions by doing the following:

  • Identify your exposures to U.S. trade action. Trade disputes can be incredibly costly for organizations, potentially leading to punishing anti-dumping and countervailing duties. To protect themselves, companies should lessen their exposure to such investigations by pinpointing how NAFTA changes might impact business as whole.
  • Understand your supply chain. Changes to NAFTA will likely disrupt your supply chain, and upper management will no longer be able to delegate such issues to logistics or purchasing departments. It is vital for organizations and their leadership to identify supply chain vulnerabilities and alternative sources for critical inputs.
  • Communicate your interests in NAFTA negotiations. The Canadian government is preparing for NAFTA renegotiations by identifying the interests of its business community. While these negotiators have their fingers on the pulse of the major issues related to NAFTA changes, your business may be able to request specific protections not previously discussed.

Organizations may also want to explore new markets to reduce U.S. dependence and assign an individual to stay current on NAFTA updates. While the future of NAFTA is uncertain, companies don’t have to sit on their hands, and the above strategies can better position them for success.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Preventing Construction Job Site Theft

Although it is important for companies to trust their workers and the general public, the unfortunate reality is that theft can happen at any time. This is particularly true in the construction industry, where expensive tools and machinery are often left in plain sight or are easily accessible to criminals.

Construction site theft is especially damaging, as the theft of materials and tools can quickly delay a project, sometimes bringing production to a halt. What’s more, many construction workers pay for their own tools and, in the event of a robbery, may have to recoup losses out of their own pockets.

General Tips

While every job site presents its own set of unique challenges, there are a number of general tips firms can use to better secure a construction site.

The following are some basic strategies you can use to protect your materials and tools from thieves:

  1. Create a written security policy and job site security plan. These written plans should assign supervisory responsibilities, encourage awareness and establish basic best practices for securing tools and materials.
  2. Contact nearby property owners and local law enforcement officials whenever you start a new project. These parties can help monitor your job site, particularly during off-hours.
  3. Establish a means for your employees to report theft or suspicious activity. Be sure to maintain complete records of any security incidents, as they can be beneficial to law enforcement in the event of theft, vandalism or similar occurrences.
  4. Conduct thorough background checks on your employees before hiring them on full time. You should also keep a list of people authorized to be on the job site on hand at all times.

Worksite Protections

Equipping your worksite with theft-prevention features is mandatory if you expect to ward off potential criminals. Whenever possible, consider doing the following:

  1. Enclose your worksite with a security fence and provide limited access at all times. Use lockable gates whenever possible. Avoid using low-quality locks or leaving keys in the locks themselves.
  2. Ensure that your worksite is well lit at night to deter criminals.
  3. Utilize signage to keep unauthorized personnel off your worksite.
  4. Walk around the worksite at the beginning and end of each day to ensure that no items are missing.
  5. Consider hiring security guards to patrol the construction site, particularly at night.

If possible, install security cameras to safeguard your job site. Overall, training employees on how to best keep materials and equipment out of the hands of thieves is your first line of defence against losses.

Controls for Equipment, Tools and Materials

The number of tools and machinery found on a construction site can vary heavily from day to day, making it difficult to keep track of valuables. That’s why the first step in any good protection program is to inventory the equipment you have.

An inventory should be made available for each job site and should accomplish the following:

  • Inventories should track all newly purchased items. Copies of the inventory should be kept in a secure location.
  • Inventories should be up to date and include photos of the larger, more important equipment.
  • To aid in the settlement and recovery of any stolen equipment, inventories should include the following:
    • The original date of purchase
    • The original cost of the equipment
    • The equipment’s age and serial number
    • Relevant manufacturer information

Firms should assign one employee to be in charge of managing the inventory. This person would be responsible for keeping track of all materials, tools and deliveries.

Other major steps to securing equipment, tools and materials include the following:

  • Utilize a secured area to store your equipment.
  • Mark and label all tools in a distinctive manner for easy identification.
  • Implement a checkout system of all tools and equipment so you can track their whereabouts.
  • Establish a key-control system for heavy duty machinery.
  • Install anti-theft devices on mobile equipment.
  • Lock all oil and gas tank caps.
  • Park all equipment in a centralized, well-lit and secure area.
  • Avoid using your worksite for storage. Remove any tools, materials or equipment that are not in use.

In general, it’s important to keep inventory levels low on-site to discourage thieves. In addition, creating and maintaining an equipment program can make all the difference when it comes to safeguarding your tools.

Equipment programs should make employees, managers, supervisors and foreman responsible for equipment losses. Under such programs, all losses are must be reported, regardless of how small. You should review equipment programs at least annually.

Protect Your Projects

Theft is unpredictable, but there are many workplace controls that firms can implement in order to protect themselves. In addition, it’s important to speak to a broker to seek the appropriate insurance coverages.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

IT Security Is a Top Challenge for Firms around the World

A recent survey conducted by Protiviti and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), found that cyber security, privacy issues, infrastructure management and emerging technologies rank as the top IT challenges facing organizations today.

The annual survey—A Global Look at IT Audit Best Practices—gathered responses from over 1,000 IT audit professionals and focused on emerging technology, IT implementation, audits, risk assessments and hiring practices. Respondents were asked to name their greatest technology or business challenges.

The following were the top 10 responses:

  1. IT security, privacy and cyber security
  2. Infrastructure management
  3. Emerging technology and infrastructure changes
  4. Resource, staffing and skills challenges
  5. Regulatory compliance
  6. Budgets and controlling costs
  7. Cloud computing and virtualization
  8. Bridging IT and the business
  9. Project management and change management
  10. Third-party and vendor managementIn order to protect themselves and stay current on emerging risks, experts recommend that organizations continually review the IT risk landscape and adjust IT audit plans accordingly.

The survey also found that, while 90 per cent of large organizations conducted an IT audit risk assessment, only a little more than half of them did so on an annual basis.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved

Key CASL Provisions Come Into Force July 1, 2017

Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL), which regulates the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and requires entities that distribute them to obtain prior consent, came into force on July 1, 2014. While many aspects of CASL have been in effect for years, key provisions—including the private right of action (PRA)—will be imposed beginning July 1, 2017.

Essentially, PRA allows individuals and enterprises to file a lawsuit in court if they feel they have been affected by a violation of CASL. PRA also opens the door for anti-spam class action lawsuits, with maximum damages capped at $1 million per day. PRA violations can be costly for organizations, and monetary penalties can occur if a business does any of the following:

  1. Sends CEMs that violate CASL ($200 per breach and up to a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  2. Alters the transmission data of a CEM (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  3. Installs apps or other computer programs that violate CASL (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  4. Scraps, generates or accesses electronic addresses in violation of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  5. Sends CEMs with false or misleading information ($200 per breach and up to a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)

Moreover, beginning July 1, 2017, transitional implied consent expires, and organizations will need to obtain express or implied consent prior to sending CEMs. Failing to do so could leave businesses exposed to significant monetary penalties under PRA. In order to prepare for PRA and the end of transitional provisions, organizations are encouraged to review their compliance programs.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved



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