Real Estate by Appointment only showings still allowed - Second Provincial Emergency

Second Provincial Emergency

IMPORTANT: Updated COVID-19 Restrictions


With Ontario facing dangerously high rates of COVID-19, Premier Doug Ford declared a second provincial emergency today and announced a slate of new restrictions in an effort to bring the virus under control.

As it relates to real estate:

  • Public open houses are still prohibited.
  • In-person showings must be done by appointment only, but it is still recommended that virtual showings be the preferred choice. REALTORS® must continue to put the safety of themselves and their clients first.
  • Real estate offices (Brokerages and Boards) may remain open but must continue to follow the government’s screening requirements for workplaces.
  • Short-term rentals for recreational purposes are immediately closed as of January 12, 2021.  If a booking was made prior to this date, it is permitted to go forward.
  • Renovations started before January 12, 2021 will be permitted to continue, but any renovations that have not commenced are not permitted to start.

Here are the new restrictions in place effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday:

  • Ontario will be placed under a stay-at-home order, which will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, like going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

  • No return to in-class learning until Feb. 11 at the earliest for the following public health units: Windsor-Essex, Peel Region, Toronto, York Region and Hamilton.

  • All businesses must ensure any employee who can work from home do so.

  • Gatherings are restricted to five people, consistent with the first-wave lockdown rules.

  • Masks remain mandatory indoors at open businesses or organizations. Masks are also now being recommended outdoors where physical distancing of two metres or more is not possible.

  • There will be reduced hours for non-grocery stores and pharmacies. All non-essential retail will be forced to close at 8 p.m. and open no earlier than 7 a.m. These limits don't apply to stores that primarily sell food, gas stations, pharmacies, convenience stores or restaurants providing take-out or delivery.

  • There are new limits on non-essential construction


Poloz: “a firefighter is never criticized for using too much water.”

The Bank of Canada has cut its benchmark interest rate by another 50 bps to 0.25 per cent, over lingering concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus.

Today’s cut brings the overnight rate to the lowest level since the financial crisis a decade ago.

It’s the third cut since the COVID-19 outbreak began. One of the Bank of Canada’s goals with the cuts is to cushion the blow of COVID-19 with lower mortgage payments.

“The spread of COVID-19 is having serious consequences for Canadians and for the economy, as is the abrupt decline in world oil prices,” said the Bank of Canada in a release.

“The pandemic-driven contraction has prompted decisive fiscal policy action in Canada to support individuals and businesses and to minimize any permanent damage to the structure of the economy.”

The loonie (CADUSD=X) fell about half a cent in the moments after the announcement.

Canada’s central bank also launched two new programs, to maintain stability and shield the economy from the effects of COVID-19.

“First, the Commercial Paper Purchase Program (CPPP) will help to alleviate strains in short-term funding markets and thereby preserve a key source of funding for businesses.”

“Second, to address strains in the Government of Canada debt market and to enhance the effectiveness of all other actions taken so far, the Bank will begin acquiring Government of Canada securities in the secondary market.”

Buying starts at a minimum of $5 billion per week across the yield curve.

“The program will be adjusted as conditions warrant, but will continue until the economic recovery is well underway. The Bank’s balance sheet will expand as a result of these purchases,” said the Bank of Canada.

During the news conference, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said “going lower is a theorotical possibility but not one we’re contemplating.”

He also didn’t rule out negative interest rates but says there would be negative effects of going down that road.

CIBC economist Royce Mendes doesn’t expect a further cut, but does think there’s room for the Bank of Canada to increase asset purchases.

“There is room for the quantitative easing purchases to grow even larger.” he said in a note.

“While central bank stimulus can't bring the economy back to life on its own, the Bank of Canada's actions will help alleviate some of the pain and support the recovery, whenever that begins.”

Poloz wouldn’t say if Canada is headed for a recession. He says there will be an update on the effects of the Bank of Canada’s actions on April 15.

When asked if the Bank’s action go too far he said “a firefighter is never criticized for using too much water.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was happy with the Bank of Canada’s actions to support the economy during an update on measures to fight COVID-19.


Real Estate is in the List of Essential Workplaces Ontario

March 23, 2020 8:00 P.M.

For the purposes of this order, businesses include any-for-profit, non-profit or other entity providing the goods and services described herein.

This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery.

Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.



Supply chains

1.    Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate;

Retail and Wholesaling

2.    Businesses engaged in the retail and wholesale sale of food, pet food and supplies, and household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and businesses, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and other similar retailers;

3.    Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding;

4.    Beer, wine and liquor stores and alcohol producers, and stores that sell beer and wine through arrangements with authorized providers; cannabis stores and cannabis producers;

5.    Gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine craft fuels;

6.    Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including bicycle repair, aircraft repair, heavy equipment repair, watercraft/marine craft repairs, car and truck dealerships and related facilities;

7.    Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses;

8.    Business providing pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services, including pharmacies and dispensaries;

9.    Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses;

10. Safety supply stores (for e.g. work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment);

Food Services and Accommodations

11. Restaurants and other food facilitiesthat prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or takeaway, together with food delivery services;

12. Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities, including student residences;

Institutional, Residential, Commercial and Industrial  Maintenance

13. Businesses that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial industrial and residential properties and buildings, including, property management services,plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, , security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services

Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure/Service Providers

14. Businesses engaged in providing or supporting Information Technology (IT) including online services, software products and related services, as well as the technical facilities such as data centres and other network facilities necessary for their operation and delivery; 

15.  Businesses providing telecommunications services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc) as well as support facilities such as call centres necessary for their operation and delivery;


16. Taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living;

17. Businesses and facilities that provide transportation services to businesses and individuals including by air, water, road, and rail including providing logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, including truck stops and tow operators;

18. Businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine) including delivery of maintenance services such as clearing snow, response to collisions, and completing needed repairs to the transportation systems.

Manufacturing and Production

19. Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer);

20. Businesses, facilities and services that support and facilitate the two- way movement of essential goods within integrated North American and Global supply chains.

Agriculture and food production

21. Businesses that farm, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, including beverages, crops, animal products and by-products, aquaculture, hunting and fishing;

22. Businesses that support the food supply chain including assembly yards, livestock auctions, food distribution hubs, feed mills, farm equipment suppliers, feed suppliers, food terminals and warehouses, animal slaughter plants and grain elevators;

23. Business that support the safety of food including animal and plant health and animal welfare;

24. Businesses that provide veterinary services, and that supply veterinary and animal control medications and related supplies and testing kits;

25. Businesses that help to ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling;


26. Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;

27. Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance;

28. Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors;

29. Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects

Financial activities

30. Capital markets (e.g., the TSX);

31. Banking & Activities related to Credit Intermediation; credit unions;

32. Insurance;

33. Businesses that provide pension services and employee benefits services;

34. Businesses that provide financial services including payment processing, the payroll division of any employer (as defined by the Employment Standards Act/Occupational Health and Safety Act), any entity whose operation is the administration of payroll, banks and credit unions;


35. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products (e.g. metals such as copper, nickel and gold) and that support supply chains in Northern Ontario including;

a.    Mining operations, production and processing;  

b.    Mineral exploration and development;

c.     Mining Supply and Services that ssupport supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety. 

36. Businesses that provide chemicals and gases to support the natural resource sector analytical labs and drinking water and wastewater sectors and other essential businesses;

37. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of forestry products (e.g. lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.);

38. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.);

39. Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of petroleum and petroleum by-products;

Environmental Services

40. Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, including environmental consulting firms, professional engineers and geoscientists, septics haulers, well drillers, pesticides applicators and exterminators, management of industrial sewage/effluent (eg for mining operations), and environmental laboratories;

Utilities and Community Services

41. Utilities, and Businesses that support the provision of utilities and community services, including by providing products, materials and services needed for the delivery of utilities and community services:

a.    Waste Collection, Waste/ Sewage Treatment and Disposal, operation of landfills, and Hazardous Waste Disposal;

b.    Potable drinking water;

c.     Electricity Generation, transmission, distribution and storage;

d.    Natural Gas distribution, transmission and storage,

e.    Road construction and maintenance;

f.      police, fire, emergency services including coroner services and pathology services ;

g.    corrections and courts services;

h.    other government services including licenses and permits;

42. Businesses engaged in or supporting the operation, maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure (railways, dams, bridges, highways, erosion control structures, etc.);

Communications Industries

43. Newspaper publishers;

44. Radio & Television Broadcasting;

45. Telecommunications providers;


46. Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities;

47. Businesses that provide products and services that support research activities;

Health Care and Seniors Care and Social Services

48. Organizations and providers that deliver home care services;

49. Retirement homes;

50. Long-term Care Facilities;

51. Independent health facilities;

52. Laboratories and specimen collection centres;

53. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals; medical devices and medical supplies

54. Manufacturers, logistics and distributors of products and/or services that support the delivery of health care in all locations (including but not limited to hospitals, labs, long-term care homes, other residential health care, physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives, and home care services);

55. Businesses that provide products and/or services that support the health sector or that provide health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports.

56. Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies.

57. Businesses that provide personal support services (many seniors and persons with disabilities, who can afford to, hire individuals to assist with the activities of daily living).

58. Health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists optometrists and physio-therapists;

59. Not-for-profit organizations that provide critical personal support services in home and also provide residential services for individuals with physical disabilities (such as the Centre for Independent Living and March of Dimes);

60. Businesses and all other organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals, including but not limited to food banks, violence against women emergency shelters, homeless shelters, community housing, supportive housing, children's aid societies, residential services for adults with developmental disabilities and for children, and custody and detention programs for young persons in conflict with the law;

Justice Sector

61. Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system;

Other Businesses

62. Rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;

63. Businesses providing mailing, shipping, courier and delivery services, including post office boxes;

64. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers;

65. Professional services including lawyers and para-legals, engineers, accountants, translators;

66. Businesses providing funeral, mortician, cremation, transfer, and burial services, and any related goods and products (such as coffins and embalming fluid);

67.  Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services;

68.  Businesses providing security services including private security guards; monitoring or surveillance equipment and services;

69. Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary help;

70. Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses;

71. Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers;

72. Child care services for essential workers, and home child care services of less than six children;

73. Businesses providing cheque cashing services;

Business Regulators and Inspectors

74. Organizations, including Administrative Authorities, that regulate and inspect businesses.
More details please refer to:

Peter He is Talking about GTA Real Estate on TV

Peter He: Toronto's Housing Affordability Challenges are Here to Stay...
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Breaking News: Bank of Canada cuts rates by 0.5% to 1.25%

poloz.jpgThe Bank of Canada cut its trend-setting interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.25 per cent down from 1.75 per cent on Wednesday in an effort to soften the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The decision comes after the U.S. Federal Reserve implemented a similar cut on Tuesday, acting before its next scheduled policy meeting on March 17-18.

“While Canada’s economy has been operating close to potential with inflation on target, the COVID-19 virus is a material negative shock to the Canadian and global outlooks, and monetary and fiscal authorities are responding,” the central bank said in a statement.

While the traders and analysts had widely anticipated that Canada’s central bank would follow the U.S. lead, it’s unclear to what extent the rate cut will shore up sentiment among investors, markets and consumers.

The Fed’s surprise cut failed to trigger an immediate rebound in the stock market, with some analysts speculating that the emergency move might have further spooked investors.

Some economists are also questioning whether lower borrowing costs are the best antidote to the economic ailments brought on by coronavirus.

“Monetary policy is generally not highly effective in resolving supply-side shocks,” TD economist Beata Caranci wrote in a report on Monday. Fiscal policy, on the other hand, is effective “when targeted at the source of the supply shock,” she added.

Still, if quarantines spur a fear-based reaction among households, “then monetary policy needs to step in” in addition to fiscal policy, Caranci wrote.

The bank said it took action because COVID-19 has cut business activity in some regions and disrupted supply chains, reducing both commodity prices and the Canadian dollar.

“Global markets are reacting to the spread of the virus by repricing risk across a broad set of assets, making financial conditions less accommodative,” the bank said. “It is likely that as the virus spreads, business and consumer confidence will deteriorate, further depressing activity.”

Analysts also worry about what lower borrowing costs might do to a residential real estate sector that seems already poised for a hot spring housing market in some of Canada’s priciest cities.

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reported on Wednesday home sales in February were up a whopping 45.6 per cent compared with February of 2019, when they hit a decade low.

The average price of a home in Toronto climbed to $910,290, up from $779,791 in February last year, the board said.


RE/MAX releases Canadian housing market outlook for 2020 - ONTARIO


Toronto is set to experience a strong housing market in 2020. Lower unemployment rates, economic growth and improved overall affordability in the Greater Toronto Area are expected to drive the market forward. The estimated average sale price increase for 2020 is six per cent, two points higher than the growth experienced between 2018 ($736,256) and 2019 ($766,236). The city saw 76,413 properties sold in 2019, up 12 per cent from 2018 (68,064). While Toronto is experiencing its “busiest” construction season ever, housing supply still falls short of the demands of the city’s rapidly growing population.

Cities such as Ottawa and Windsor are seller’s markets, showing substantial increases in average residential sale price at 11.7 and 11 per cent, respectively. This strong growth is expected to continue into 2020, with Ottawa’s new LRT system impacting surrounding development and Windsor’s continued affordability attracting young professionals to the area. Buyers are also not burdened by the mortgage stress test, as they were in 2018.

The Niagara region is also showing strong growth, with average residential sale price increasing almost 13 per cent, from $378,517 in 2018 to $427,487.50 in 2019. Value-conscious consumers from the Greater Toronto Area are buying in droves, with many choosing to live in the region while commuting to Toronto.

“Southern Ontario is witnessing some incredibly strong price appreciation, with many regions still seeing double-digit gains,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Thanks to the region’s resilient economy, staggering population growth and relentless development, the 2020 market looks very optimistic.” 

Read the outlook for the rest of Canada:
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Politics and Real Estate : Conservative & Liberal Parties' Housing Plan Comparison

Housing and real estate are one of the most hot topics for this upcoming federal election, the election results may be making a big difference on our real estate market and impacting your home value significantly. This is something worth your attention if you plan to sell or buy homes in the near future or in the coming years. 

Conservative Party's Four-point Plan to Make Home Ownership More Affordable

  1. Fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first-time homebuyers aren’t unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages and work with OSFI to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals to give homeowners more options.
  2. Increase amortization periods on insured mortgages to 30 years for first-time homebuyers to lower monthly payments.
  3. Launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector and work with our industry partners to root out corrupt practices that inflate housing prices.
  4. Make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase the supply of housing.
Liberal Party's Housing Plan:
1. Introduce a 1 per cent tax on non-resident non-Canadians owning Canadian properties. 
2. Expand the foreign buyer taxes to nation wide instead of just great Toronto and Vancouver area.
3. May proposing taxing on selling your principle residence.

4. Expand the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) program up to home prices at $789,000.

One thing in common is no matter which party gets elected, both of their policies would be in favour to the mid and lower end price range homes, and the higher price range homes would continue to be under depression under the policies. 

There was a misunderstanding that the Conservative Party would scrap the B-20 stress test completely if they are elected in the upcoming federal election, they actually only mentioned to remove the stress test for mortgage renewals, and as a matter of fact the stress test for mortgage renewals is currently already exempted anyways if you stick with the same bank you are currently with.  All in all if the Tories is elected it's more positive for the housing market, if the Liberals is re-elected it's more negative to the housing market, the politics is continuing to impact the real estate market.  But we may not expect much significant changes on the market even the Tories is elected, as the chance to remove the stress test completely is still slim.
Just like Doug Ford talked about he might consider to remove the foreign buyer taxes in Ontario if he was elected, but his Provincial government never mentioned about this again after he was elected since June of 2018. 
Sometimes we just can not take the politicians' words too seriously. 

Not sure about the timing for your home selling or buying? Please call the expert Peter He 647-7392618 for a chat.
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Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer laid out a plan this morning he says would make it cheaper for Canadians to buy homes, loosening rules put in place by the former Conservative government during the global financial crisis.

Scheer pledged he’d return to allowing first-time homebuyers to take out 30-year mortgages to help lower monthly payments.

“For millions of Canadians their home is the largest investment they will ever make,” Scheer said.

Beginning in 2008, the Harper Conservatives began reducing the maximum mortgage amortization rate for insured mortgages. They started by knocking it down from 40 to 35 years, and in 2011 reduced it to 30 years.READ MORE: Canada election: 5 economic issues to watch for this campaign

Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty reduced the maximum amortization period to 25 years the following year. He said at the time that while monthly payments would be higher, it would result in less interest and help people pay off their mortgages faster.

The move at the time was meant to address the growing debt burden on Canadians. A major factor in the panic that locked up financial markets in the late 2000s was mortgages that owners couldn’t pay, on properties that were worth less than the loans taken out against them.

READ MORE: Liberal denial of ‘hidden’ capital gains tax hike can’t be trusted, says Scheer

When asked why a new Conservative government would now reverse course, Scheer responded the longer mortgage period would allow more people to buy homes. He added that “it is important that we have strong regulations around the financial sector.”

Statistics Canada reported in August that the median mortgage debt of Canadian families that have them almost doubled between 1999 and 2016, rising from $91,900 to $180,000 in 2016 dollars.

Scheer also promised to ease what’s known as the stress test on mortgages and remove it altogether from mortgage renewals. The test is meant to make sure people taking out mortgages could still afford the payments if interest rates were to rise.

WATCH: Scheer vows to clear veterans benefits backlog if elected

The Liberals brought in the policy last year and it has been criticized by the construction and real-estate industries. Both the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association welcomed Scheer’s promises Monday.

A Conservative government would also make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase housing supply, and launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector, Scheer said.

“Justin Trudeau has put the dream of home ownership further out of reach for so many, especially young Canadians,” Scheer said. “As prime minister, I will fix his bad policies and work to get more homes on the market to lower the price of housing.”

WATCH: Scheer reaffirms plan to reduce home energy costs 

Scheer is campaigning today in the Toronto-area suburb of Vaughan and then moves on to St. Catharines, Ont.

King-Vaughn, which was a new riding in 2015, was won by Liberal Deb Schulte by just over 1,700 votes last election.

Scheer said he is not concerned with polling that shows the Conservatives and Liberals neck and neck in key ridings despite recent controversies around photos and videos of Justin Trudeau wearing black- and brownface.

“We’ve got campaigns all across the country where two or three years ago people were writing us off,” Scheer said.

“We are going to win those seats.

The politics can be another bazooka for your real estate assets and home selling plan

Back to March 2017, there're rumours the provincial government was going to take actions to cool down the housing market, some sellers were smart enough to take the money and run, and some sellers were boggling to wait hoping to sell for even higher prices but they never did since then. Now we all know the Ontario fair housing plan announced in April 20 2017 was a turning point of our housing market.
Now the upcoming federal election in October may be another big deal to impact our housing market significantly again, the liberals are introducing three major proposals for the more affordable housing as below: 
1. Introduce a 1 per cent tax on non-resident non-Canadians owning Canadian properties. There's a significant number of properties are owned by non-residents, if this is implemented, it could cause some of the non-resident owners to dump their properties into the market, it means more competing listings when you sell your home. 
2. Expand the foreign buyer taxes to nation wide instead of just great Toronto and Vancouver area.
3. Proposing taxing on selling your principle residence.
Further details were not released as yet, there're lots of uncertainties how much of these measures would be eventually implemented, some of them sound just like rumours, but the election results and rumours could make a big difference on the housing market again. 
If you were thinking to sell your home in the next couple of years, these things might be worth for you to keep an eye on and it might be worth for you to reconsider either to sell earlier or later, please call Peter He at 647-7392618 for a chat about how the politics could impact your real estate assets and your home selling plans?
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Will Halton Region Become One City?

Changes may be coming to Halton Region soon…and they may not be something that the communities of Halton have asked for.

During the hectic last minute changes to municipal elections in 2018, the provincial government announced that there will be a review of how regional government across Ontario is working…and now the details of that pending review have finally arrived.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark announced that former Waterloo Regional Chair Ken Seiling and former Ontario deputy minister Michael Fenn would serve as advisors to conduct a broad examination and provide recommendations to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery in regional governments.

Not all communities are being affected, as the review is only for Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York Regions, as well as Muskoka District, Oxford County and Simcoe County. The review includes examining the cities and towns within those regional governments.

In a phone call with, Clark said that Simcoe was included because of similar population growth pressures and infrastructure needs they're facing akin with what the other regions were experiencing.

He also said that after 50 years it was time to do a review of regional governments to make sure they're "working efficiently and effectively." A number of those regional governments were modeled along the lines of the former Metro Toronto configuration, back when Toronto was divided into six separate municipalities.

The previous Mike Harris government in the late 1990s amalgamated those six former municipalities and Metro Toronto into the current megacity we know today.

“Our government committed to improving the way regional government works and we will be looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers’ dollars and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services,” Clark said.

Fenn and Seiling have been tasked to work with the province to look into easier access to municipal services, making municipalities more "open for business" as well as "cutting red tape and duplication" to save costs.

The two advisors are also tasked with answering some of the following questions:

  • Does the existing model support the capacity of the municipalities to make decisions efficiently?

  • Are two-tier structures appropriate for all of these municipalities?

  • Do the ways that regional councillors/heads of council get elected/appointed to serve on regional council help to align lower- and upper-tier priorities?

  • Is there opportunity for more efficient allocation of various service responsibilities?

  • Are there barriers to making effective and responsive infrastructure and service delivery decisions?

The review will include consultations with municipal councilors and leaders, stakeholder organizations, local businesses and the public in the spring of 2019.

You may be wondering, with the terms of reference in this review, if the provincial government is looking into doing another round of municipal amalgamations like the previous Conservatives did twenty or so years ago. Clark also said that he is only focused on finding efficiencies and improving services.

"It's really up to municipalities to put it on the table when it comes to amalgamation. If someone want to talk about that subject, they can put it forward to my advisors."

The Ontario NDP released a statement harkening back to the days of Harris when it came to amalgamation, saying the premier was "again meddling with municipalities."

"Ford has already tabled a scheme to Swiss cheese the greenbelt and remove important drinking water protections, and now it looks like he's unilaterally pursuing amalgamation. The last time Doug Ford meddled in municipal governments, we saw the Conservatives abruptly axe more than two dozen local elections, including three regional chair elections," said Jeff Burch, the NDP's Municipal Affairs critic.

"Ford was so intent on settling old scores with his political foes that he even wielded the notwithstanding clause as the Conservatives ran roughshod over these local democratic processes. The NDP is deeply concerned that the Ford Conservatives are planning to use the regional review as a pretext to impose amalgamation on municipalities. The premier's job is to respect the will of democratically elected local governments and work with them, not attempt to override their wishes and control their regions."

The cities in Halton Region, unlike neighbouring Peel, are more or less growing at the same rate and as such the services provided should be more on an equal footing. The most sensible change might be to merge Milton and Halton Hills together as one larger town while retaining the existing regional structure.

But of course, we’re talking about the Ford government that’s got a knack for making shocking decisions. This opinion piece surmises that Burlington will become part of Hamilton, Halton Hills would become part of Wellington County and Milton and Oakville could join Peel (if it still exists).

Or perhaps…Halton Region will just become one big City of Halton?

Who knows if that would happen, but it would be interesting to see people show up to the governance review advocating such a thing.

Other thoughts surrounding the other areas being examined by the review:

  • Brampton and Mississauga could possibly be split off into single tier municipalities, with Caledon joining Dufferin County…or they could be merged together to create ‘a City of Peel’ or the awful sounding name of ‘Bramsauga’.

  • York Region is currently over one million people, with growing cities such as Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill (RH technically calls itself a town, even though it has almost 200,000 residents) as well as smaller towns like Aurora, East Gwillimbury and Georgina. York may be having a similar urban-rural divide the Peel municipalities are experiencing and it won't be surprising to hear some kind of change in York.

  • Simcoe County is an interesting case because it's most populated city, Barrie, is a separated municipality apart from Simcoe so it's not part of the review. But towns like Innisfil and Bradford are rapidly growing in population alongside smaller communities such as Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and Springwater. One suggestion that might come up is splitting Simcoe's quieter, northern communities from the rapidly growing southern part to allow the latter to better manage that growth.

Whatever happens with this review, people need to get up and be more vigilant as to what their government is planning to do to their communities. This government values its image as being "for the people"; well…those people need to speak up, even if they support whatever the government wants to do in the end.

摘要:安大略省现行省,地区(Region),市(City or Town)三级行政区划已有50年历史了,因为人口的增长新的保守党省政府打算再次为提高政府行政效率对部分地区划分进行重新评估和调整,大多伦多地区主要受影响的区域是Halton, Peel, York. 目前在讨论的方案有多种,方案之一是把Halton区的四个城市Oakville, Milton,Burlington, Halton Hills合并成一个城市City of Halton; 还有的方案是把Burlingon划归哈密尔顿,Halton Hills划到农村的Wellington县,而Oakville, Milton划入Peel区...有多种可能,现在仍然处于争论和评估阶段,最终究竟如何划分仍然是未知数。


Bank of Canada raises interest rate to 1.75%

What does 0.25% interest rate hike mean to you? For every 1 million dollar mortgage, you are going to pay $134 more on interests every month...
But don't be freaked out, look at the past 80 years, even with a few more rate hikes the current rates are still at a historically low level...
For those of you who are under fixed rates terms, your mortgage payment won't be affected until renewal. For the variable rate terms, your monthly payment amount would still not change but more payments would be made to interests instead of principle...
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The Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point for the fifth time since last summer, pushing up the cost of borrowing for Canadians.

The bank's rate is now set at 1.75 per cent.

Known as the target for the overnight rate, the benchmark is what Canada's big banks charge each other for short-term loans. It filters down to consumers, because it affects the rates the banks offer their customers for things like variable rate mortgages and savings accounts.

Canada's central bank kept its interest rate at record lows for several years to stimulate the economy following the economic slowdown of 2008, but has since begun to ratchet it higher as the economy gets back on sounder footing.

Economists are expecting a few more rate hikes to come, but the bank hinted on Wednesday that it wants to see how current rates are affecting the economy before proceeding.

"In determining the appropriate pace of rate increases, [the bank] will continue to take into account how the economy is adjusting to higher interest rates, given the elevated level of household debt," the bank said.

In explaining its decision to raise the rate, the bank noted the recently announced free trade deal with the United States and Mexico as a reason for optimism about Canada's economy.

The bank also said it expects household spending to increase at "a healthy pace."

Candice Bangsund, a portfolio manager at investment firm Fiera Capital interpreted the bank's statement as a clear sign it has very strong confidence in the outlook for the economy — which means rate hikes to come.

"The bank's constructive and upbeat tone in the statement is not all that surprising given that the economy is operating near full capacity and core inflation is hovering around target, while trade tensions have receded substantially following the successful renegotiation of NAFTA," she said.

The bank meets eight times a year to set its interest rate, and its next such meeting is scheduled in six weeks on Dec. 5.

Trading in investments known as overnight index swaps currently implies that investors think there's about a 25 per cent chance of another rate hike on that day. But regardless of what happens then, investors are expecting two more hikes between now and March, bringing the bank's rate to 2.25 per cent.

Currency investors clearly see more rate hikes to come, as the loonie gained half a cent as soon as the decision came out. (Rate hikes push up the value of a currency, because they make it more worthwhile to invest in the country's money.)

The loonie was changing hands at just under 77 cents on Wednesday morning, its highest level in a week.

How will the new cannabis laws affect real estate?

Cannabis is just legalized in Canada, what do you think? Is it a good thing or bad thing? 
How would this cannabis law affect your home value? ...
As per a survey, 57 per cent of homeowner respondents said they think that even growing a legal amount of cannabis at home would reduce their desire to buy that property...
If you are a landlord, now it's time to take extra caution to ask the applicants questions about their cannabis use history, this could be more important than asking if they smoke or have pets...

A small marijuana plant grows in a lab at the new Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College, Oct. 9, 2018.

It may be legal to smoke, grow, and possess marijuana come Oct. 17, but that doesn't mean Canadians looking to purchase real estate are suddenly going to be chill about it.

According to a new report on cannabis and real estate from real estate site Zoocasa, 52 per cent of Canadians say they'd be less likely to consider specific houses for sale if they knew a legal amount of cannabis was grown in it.

Upon legalization, each Canadian household will be allowed to cultivate four marijuana plants.

Baby boomers (54 to 72 years old) and Gen Xers (38-53 years old) were more likely than millennials (22 to 37 years old) to think a legal amount of pot grown in a home would reduce their desire to buy it. Nearly six in 10 of boomers and Gen Xers (59 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively) agreed, compared to just over a third of millennials (38 per cent).

Over half of current homeowners (57 per cent) believe growing a legal amount of cannabis would harm a property's resale value, while 26 per cent disagree and 18 per cent are unsure.

Watch: What's legal and what's not under Canada's new cannabis law. Story continues below.


Zoocasa managing editor Penelope Graham said Bill C-45 has created a lot of uncertainty for homeowners because "there isn't much clarity yet on whether there will be negative implications for home values and marketability."

"Prior to legalization, there were mortgage and insurance consequences for those who smoked or grew cannabis in their homes, and there has yet to be any concrete clarification as to how this will change once the legislation is in place," Graham said in a statement emailed to HuffPost Canada.

"For this reason, the question of whether or not homeowners, buyers, and sellers need protection and education continues to be a hot button topic for real estate associations, agents and appraisers."




The survey also looked at how current homeowners, landlords and tenants feel about smoking cannabis indoors. Nearly two-thirds of homeowners (64 per cent) felt that smoking cannabis inside would harm their home's resale value. Nearly half of renters (46 per cent) also agreed smoking cannabis in a home would devalue it.

Most landlords (70 per cent) say landlords should be able to charge higher rents if tenants want to smoke cannabis inside their homes and just over half of Canadians overall (52 per cent) say the same, though only 13 per cent of renters say they'd be willing to actually pay it.

An overwhelming majority of landlords polled in the survey said that they want or plan to ban smoking within their rental properties.

Mixed feelings about dispensaries

Indoor cannabis consumption and cultivation aside, almost half (48 per cent) of respondents said the presence of a dispensary would reduce their desire to purchase a property, and almost as many (42 per cent) feel having one in the neighbourhood would harm the value of nearby homes.

Less than a third of respondents (31 per cent) said they're comfortable with a dispensary opening in their area, compared to 59 per cent saying the same thing about liquor stores.

Zoocasa conducted an online survey from Sept. 27-Oct. 3 among 1,380 respondents who live in Canada. The results have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.