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Feds' termination of Energy Retrofit programme already causing job losses in PEI / New online tool helps non-profits decide whether to apply for charitable status / Phone-in : Pitch the Publishers

Fallout From Fed Cut To Energy Conservation Programme: When the federal government abruptly canceled the eco-Energy Retrofit programme on the afternoon of March 31st, it caught the Maritime Provinces off-guard. As partners, they've had to scramble to find a new way to deliver the popular programme, which gave citizens rebates for work done to make their homes more energy efficient.

Now, Prince Edward Island has decided to drop the requirement that homeowners get an independent energy audit before proceeding with things like insulation upgrades or window replacements. Homeowners will have to fill out an application before work begins. A government website lists upgrades that might be accepted.

The audit had been done by independent 3rd parties, such as Sustainable Housing Education Consultants.

We spoke with Terry Watters, President of the Wolfville-based firm, which operates in all four Atlantic Provinces. Since the change in PEI's policy, he's had to lay off three workers and make a last-minute cancellation of his firm's appearance at the PEI Home Show.

To Be Or Not To Be A Charity: Whether you're a donor, a volunteer, or someone who benefits from their services, it would be hard to find a single Maritimer who isn't connected with either a non-profit group or charity. But whether the cause centres on the environment or a disease or a sport, what's the difference between a non-profit and a charity ?

Well, one answer lies in those receipts you've been organizing lately for your income tax returns : only a registered charity can issue them. For non-profits, the question about whether to apply for charitable status can consume a lot of valuable time and effort.
But a new online tool developed by the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia and funded by the Canada Revenue Agency is designed to make that decision a lot easier. It's called the To Be or Not to Be a Charity Decision Tree, and it's available to anyone in Canada.
We spoke with Robert Miedema, a lawyer with the firm of Boyne Clark in Dartmouth, who worked with the Society on the project.

The Next Bestseller : The last thing a publisher wants to see in the morning mail is a big brown evelope filled with 300 pages of unsolicited writing. Even a slim CD wouldn't lessen the unpleasant task ahead. The contents of that manuscript or digital file might represent years of work and a mountain of hope and expectation on the part of the writer. But aside from some legendary exceptions, it's unlikely those tens of thousands of words will ever end up in the window of the local bookseller...or on the screen of an e-Reader.

What the publisher needs first from a would-be author is something much more modest : a pitch - a concise outline of what the author wants to create - whether it's a work of history, fiction, a memoir, a cookbook or anything else which seeks the attention of readers. Many other steps follow, but the pitch is first.

If you've been mulling over an idea for a book and wondering what would be involved in getting it into print some day, now's the time to get some free, professional advice about the steps you need to take.

Three Maritime publishers joined us to hear your pitches : Laurie Brinklow of Acorn Press, Susanne Alexander of Goose Lane Editions and Patrick Murphy of Nimbus .

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