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Monday , 20 October 2014

Category Archives: Urban Living

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Features on the downtown scene, events and urban living.

Canadians pay back mortgages fast, don’t overuse credit cards

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Whatever you may have heard about Canadians being over-leveraged with mortgages and credit card debt, there’s a reassuring message from one of the country’s big five banks: it’s not that bad. Benjamin Tal of CIBC, who more and more resembles the kindly uncle who defends his well-behaved nieces and nephews from their overly strict parents, says, “It’s almost too good to be true.” He’s referring to the fact that even with a “mediocre” labour market and a higher-than-optimal unemployment rate, debt service performance in Canada “has almost never been better.” Fewer people are declaring bankruptcy: the rate of personal bankruptcy has been dropping for five years. More to the point, ... Read More »

Consumer confidence highest since 2011

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Canadians are feeling a lot more optimistic about long-term prospects for the economy and their own personal state than they have been in more than three years. The latest consumer confidence report shows the highest number of Canadians feeling positive about the economy since the first quarter of 2011. The third-quarter consumer confidence index, measured by Nielsen Consumer Insights Group, came in at 85.8. This was a marked increase compared to the previous quarter, which stood at 80.6, and to the result one year ago, which was 81.2. The improved confidence was seen “across the board,” according to Nielsen, but especially with regard to personal financial well-being and the prospects ... Read More »

Women celebrate their success in business two ways

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There is positive news about women from two different multi-national non-profit organizations that are run by and focused on women in business. In Toronto, the Canadian branch of Catalyst announced its “Champions” for 2014, the five people “who have challenged the status quo” and taken concrete action to advance and advocate for women. In the US, the Women Presidents Organization (WPO) announced that women-led businesses in that country outpaced the national average in growth by three times or more. Not only are women-owned businesses thriving, the organization’s president boasted, but “they’re outpacing their male counterparts and setting the bar high for success.” The two events illustrate that while women have ... Read More »

Consumer protection inadequate from self-regulating organizations: report

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When we think of the professions in Canada—doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, accountants—we generally think of the individuals who practise these professions as successful, educated, intelligent, hard-working and, generally speaking, worth the money they earn. Those with a more negative outlook may think of them as self-serving, averse to regulation or oversight, and eager to maintain the status quo where their roles and rewards are concerned. As it turns out, there’s truth in both views. Surprisingly, these high-status paragons are also very unproductive and anti-competitive. That last shocker comes from the Conference Board of Canada (“Self-regulated professions: Balancing competition and regulation”), which found that the professions are one of the least ... Read More »

Scammed condo purchasers want changes to law

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When a person buys a resale property, say it’s a condo, there will usually be one or more real estate agents acting for both the vendor and the purchaser. Once an agreement is reached, the purchaser hands over a deposit cheque for whatever amount was agreed to, and the real estate agent for the vendor places that cheque in the brokerage’s trust account, which is there for just that purpose. Every brokerage in Ontario must, by law, have such an account. The money, once in it, cannot be touched until the deal either closes or is cancelled. In a city like Toronto, where there are hundreds of such transactions every ... Read More »

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