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Thursday , 24 April 2014

Category Archives: Urban Living

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Features on the downtown scene, events and urban living.

Bank looking to tap immigrant market, loosens credit rules

It has become commonplace for analysts of the housing market to point to Canada’s annual immigrant intake as a source of new housing demand. Canada, after all, has the highest rate of immigration per capita in the world (Statistics Canada). Immigration is a significant factor in the country’s population growth, and in the economy. Too many new condos in Toronto or Vancouver? Don’t worry: immigrants will buy them, goes the argument. Historically, that stereotype of the home-buying immigrant has been largely borne out in actual behaviour. Immigrants really do place high value on home ownership. Government statistics show that they waste no time: about 8 per cent of new arrivals ... Read More »

Lines are clearly drawn, awaiting fate of Ontario Municipal Board


Whether you support or oppose the Ontario Municipal Board (if you’ve even heard of it) could depend on what side of a given decision you are on. It seems that everyone from Toronto city council to Queen’s Park, as well as individuals and groups with gripes in every part of the province, have had their kick at the OMB can. The appointed board, which dates back to the nineteenth century, has the final say on all planning decisions in Ontario. Opponents say that the tribunal’s powers to overrule decisions made by elected municipal representatives are anti-democratic. Perhaps the most infamous example of the board’s ability to make unpopular decisions was ... Read More »

Canadian workers are happiest, but skilled trades shortages persist

Last fall an international survey by and GfK found that Canadians are the most satisfied workers in the world, and no, it’s not that we’re just too polite to complain. Some do have problems with their bosses, and some don’t think they’re paid enough, and others downright hate their jobs, but feel they have no choice but to keep at it. But the majority, 64 per cent, either love their job and would do it for free, or like it a lot. Young people, the survey found, were more likely to be unhappy with their jobs and feel they could do better. What makes people happy at work? It isn’t ... Read More »

London housing fears sound all too familiar

It’s fascinating to see that Toronto is not the only city where concerns about housing bubbles and over-valuation are almost daily topics of media discussion and analysis. In London, an interesting twist on the story of rapidly rising real estate costs comes from the property appraisal business. According to some, the housing market in England’s capital city is a bubble waiting to burst. A surveyor at a company that specializes in housing valuations for the mortgage market, Sesame Bankhall Valuation Services (SBVS), says that there is mounting evidence of a “bidding frenzy” throughout London, the same scenario that existed when the market crashed five years ago. The surveyor, or home ... Read More »

Where your CPP contributions end up

Every working Canadian is familiar with the Canada Pension Plan. Since 1965, every worker has contributed to it, the amount each year showing in the little box marked CPP Contributions on the T4 form at tax time. It’s one of the two pillars, the other being Old Age Security, of this country’s public retirement system. But do we know what happens to all that money we send in? In fact, that money is invested by a management group called the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, created by Act of Parliament in 1997. The CPPIB is independent of the plan itself, and operates at arm’s length from government, though its directors ... Read More »

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