Snowbirds.org - updated to serve you better!

Fall 2008 CSANews Issue 68  |  Posted date : Sep 19, 2008.Back to list

Since its grand debut in 2000, the official website of the Canadian Snowbird Association has been providing pertinent information to travelling Canadians. Over the years, it has evolved into a gateway for sharing snowbird-related information in the form of advisories, updates, tips and specialized publications. An important mandate has always been to keep members abreast of CSA initiatives and recommendations, whether these are proposed changes to governmental policies, tips for cross-border travel or access to specially tailored member benefits. As a means of preserving this service to its members, the CSA has recently added new and improved features to the existing website. You have no doubt noticed the latest "look and feel" to the site, updated to enhance and facilitate the user experience. Perhaps the most innovative feature is the Members Only section, dedicated to members of the CSA. Did you know that, as a member, you now have the ability to login to this specialized area?

To log in to this section, click Login, found in the left-hand menu bar on the snowbird.org homepage. You will be prompted to enter your CSA member ID and additional membership information. Once you are logged in, you can personalize your password at any time.

On the left-hand menu bar, you will find the Members Only section. This section contains a list of member-only features that allow you to download forms, access special advisories, manage your CSA membership, share photos, order placemats and personalize the website.

Here's an overview of what you will find:

Member Advisories

Beginning with the most recent, the member advisories provide important information that affects snowbirds, both at home and abroad. To read the advisories in their entirety, simply click on the article title, or click on the Read more link. You can view advisories that date back to 2004.

Interact

In the Interact section, you have the chance to connect to other snowbirds. Here's how:

Bird Talk Submissions
The Bird Talk Submission feature allows members the opportunity to submit their thoughts, queries and helpful hints online. Online Bird Talk submissions will be considered for publication in the CSANews magazine. If published in the CSANews, the submission will also be published in snowbirds.org, so keep an eye out. Please be sure to read the Terms and Conditions of the website before submitting a Bird Talk.

Snowbird Photo Share
You can now upload up to 10 pictures of your journeys to the snowbirds.org website. Your friends and family around the world will then be able to view the pictures online by clicking on the Snowbird Photos link in the left-hand menu, under Fun. Your friends and family don't have to be members and don't have to login to view your photos.

At any time, you will be able to delete and/or add new pictures, up to a maximum of 10. For each photo, you will also be able to include a title or small caption up to 80 letters in length, including spaces.

Note that all photo submissions are reviewed and must receive approval from the snowbirds.org webmaster before they can be released. This is to ensure that inappropriate material cannot accidentally find its way onto the website. This review process takes one to two business days.

Canada Clubs!
The Canadian Calendar in the CSANews magazine is a great way to promote your Canadian event down south. The calendar is published once per year, in the fall issue of the magazine. To list your event, simply complete and submit the online Canada Club! Information form.

Order Placemats
The CSA placemats are unique table accessories that are designed especially for your Canadian events. Each placemat contains the lyrics of the Canadian and American national anthems, as well as dates for upcoming lifestyle shows. You can order the placemats online by submitting the Order Placemats form. The placemats can be mailed to either your Canadian or U.S. address.

Personalize Site

Make the website your own by adding some personalized features.

Personal Password
You can set your password to the snowbirds.org website. This is advisable if you find it easier to remember a personalized password than the one pre-assigned, or for those that wish to have an extra layer of security. Click on the Personal Password link in the upper right-hand menu bar to launch the secure function. You will then be prompted to enter your new password.

Set Text Size
Find the website text too small to read? Simply re-set the text size! Click on the Set Text Size link in the upper right-hand menu bar to choose from three different text sizes. When you log in again, the site will remember your preference.

Personal Weather
Click on the Personal Weather link in the upper right-hand column to personalize two weather locations; one for your Canadian residence and the other for your U.S. residence. Weather icons will be displayed at the bottom of the homepage for you to see when you first log in.

Upload an Image
Now you can upload a personal image that will be displayed on the homepage every time you login to snowbirds.org. This image will only be visible to you. Click on the Upload an Image link in the upper right-hand column to upload the digital image of yourself, a loved one, a friend, a pet, or simply a favourite picture.

Manage Account
Renew your CSA membership online by submitting the renewal form. All you need to do is complete the form, then click submit. You can also sign up to receive free email updates of important CSA announcements.

US Tax Forms

8840 Closer Connection Form
Canadian residents who winter in the U.S. are technically subject to U.S. income tax if they exceed a specific number of days in the U.S. in any one year (this is based on a calculation on the form 8840) To avoid U.S. taxation, IRS form 8840 (Closer Connection Exemption Statement for Aliens) needs to be filed annually with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. You can download this form directly from the snowbirds.org website.

W8 – BEN Certificate of Foreign Status
If you have a bank account with a financial institution in the U.S. that earns interest on deposits, then you should complete IRS form W8-BEN (Certificate of Foreign Status) with your U.S. financial institution. This way, you will avoid possibly having 30% of any interest earned on your deposits withheld and sent to the IRS. This form is also available directly from the snowbirds.org website.

Publications

Just as before, you have access to the most recent CSA publications. These specialized documents contain bundles of information pertaining to travel and leisure. They include:
  • Medipac Travel Insurance Guide
  • CSANews magazine
  • Canadian Traveller's Report Card
  • CSA Member Handbook
  • Traveller's Checklist
  • Travel Information Guide 2004 Edition
  • Travel Information Guide 2005 Supplement
  • AGM Report 2008
  • Property Tax Reform Proposals
You can choose to view these publications online or by PDF.

Snowbirds.org is your personal online portal; a special place that you can visit daily to receive the latest and greatest information from the association that is dedicated to you – the travelling snowbird.