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Featuring the letters &

concerns of our members


Bird Talk, c/o CSANews

180 Lesmill Road

Toronto, Ontario M3B 2T5

or by e-mail:

Bird Talk

a local Las Vegas cellular active on U.S. Virgin, as well as on AT&T,

and found that to be a pain too. Most recently, I have signed onto the

WINDmobile Unlimited USA data/roaming plan and actually really

like it. It costs $40/month, but it works excellently and it is very easy

to maintain with their online account access. WIND is fairly new to

Western Canada and its local towers are few, but the unlimited U.S. is truly a great deal. Thank you for allowing me to share

my personal experiences.

Wayne Chopek

Medicine Hat, AB


It sounds like WIND has a happy customer and this is rare in

the mobile phone world. And Thank You for writing.

Dear Bird Talk,

How many days can a resident of Ontario be out of the province

before losing OHIP coverage?

Shirley Lawson

Norwich, ON


You are allowed to travel out of the province for a period of

seven months under Ontario regulations. You may apply for an

extended absence and still maintain your OHIP coverage, but

the reason should be a good one…such as study or illness, etc.

Dear Bird Talk,

I have been told that I can claimmy out-of-country medical insurance

premium as a medical expense when I file my Canadian income

tax. However, when I talked to Revenue Canada, they told me the

premium is only an allowable expense if it covers exclusively what

would be normal medical expenses. In other words, if the policy also

includes coverage for items such as life insurance, return of deceased

remains home, return of pet home, etc., then the premium is not an

allowable medical expense. Do you know if this is correct and, if it

is, do you know of any insurance company that offers a policy that

Revenue Canada would accept as an allowable expense?

Andy White

Prince George, B.C.


Your Medipac policy is a 100% tax-deductible expense. We

have had extensive discussions with the Canadian Department

of Finance and they have agreed to allow the deduction for your

entire premium. If anyone is disallowed this deduction, we will

be happy to fight it on your behalf.

Dear Bird Talk,

Here’s another question about the 182-day issue. We live in Vancouver

and have a vacation home inWashington State. Unlike true snowbirds,

we use it on many weekends through the year and most of the

summer. I keep track of our days (for example, if we go down on

Friday afternoon and leave on Monday morning, we’d count four

days). I have never been able to get a straight answer regarding how

the U.S. counts the days – do you know?

David Smith from B.C.


We haven’t been able to get a straight answer either. This

also applies to many people who live on the border and go in

and out of the U.S. on a regular basis. If we look at all of the

various answers which we have received from many U.S. gov-

ernment sources, the general “opinion” is that “as long as it is

reasonable, you will be OK.” Border guards generally do not

want excessive information and, if you are going for a few days

or weeks, they really do not pay that much attention. Their com-

puters do, of course, and that is where issues will arise if you are

abusing their good will. Count both the first day and the last day

and stay well within your allotted six months and you should be

fine. This applies to those snowbirds who make multiple trips

each year. A 10-day cruise, a trip home for Christmas or running

into Mexico for a few days – these days should not be deducted

when calculating your six-month allotment.

In closing, we have received a few letters stating that I have

been somewhat disrespectful and flippant with some of my

replies and, for this, I apologize if I offended anyone. I have a

tendency to just say what I think and I hope that I will be able to

continue doing that.

Ross Quigley, Editor



FALL 2015