Archive for June, 2020

Toronto city council mandates residents to wear mask

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Toronto city council votes to make masks mandatory indoors

CBC News
CBC Radio

Toronto Mayor John Tory is urging residents to begin to wear masks or face coverings before the by-law goes into effect next week. ‘It is the right thing to do,’ he said. (CBC)

Toronto’s city council has voted to make non-medical masks and face coverings mandatory in indoor public spaces to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is about respecting and protecting each other,” Mayor John Tory said at a morning news conference, adding that it will be a key element to reopening the city safely.

“We hope there are more and more people out in the stores and in the businesses across the city. We want that to happen for the sake of our economy and for the sake of returning to a nearer to normal kind of life.”


The recommendation was included in a report from Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, that was approved by council during its Tuesday meeting.

The new regulation goes into effect July 7 as a temporary bylaw, though Tory and de Villa are encouraging residents to begin following the order immediately.

“Our doctor says that it works,” Tory said.

We know we are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19, and that we must do everything we can to avoid the flare ups that we’ve seen in other places.– Toronto Mayor John Tory

The rule will go into effect just days after the city will also make masks or face coverings mandatory on its public transit system.

They also noted that “suitable” exceptions will be made for anyone who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, as well as for children under two years old. 

Tory said there will not be “aggressive enforcement” of the new bylaw, and that the city will instead focus on educating the public about the importance of the order.

Fines for violations have not yet been set by local courts, though the city solicitor said she expects the figure to be “in the ballpark” of $750 to $1,000.

Masks have worked to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in other jurisdictions in which residents consistently wear them, and a mandatory mask rule results in higher uptake. 

Toronto’s policy would remain in place at least until a city council meeting scheduled for September 30, when the order could be extended if deemed necessary, Tory said. 

“We know we are at a critical time in the fight against COVID-19, and that we must do everything we can to avoid the flare-ups that we’ve seen in other places,” said Tory.


Watch: Toronto and other cities move toward making masks mandatory:

As Canada cautiously reopens, Toronto and surrounding cities are moving toward making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in an effort to keep COVID-19 numbers down. 2:03

The news comes one day after a call from mayors throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area for a mandatory mask policy across Ontario was rejected by Premier Doug Ford’s government.

Ford has repeatedly said that he believes such a policy would be impossible to enforce, and that his government trusts people to make responsible decisions when they leave their homes. The province has opted instead for a policy of strongly encouraging the public to wear non-medical masks and face coverings in busy indoor spaces. 

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health, however, pointed out that local medical officers of health have the power to implement face mask policies in their respective health regions under existing legislation, namely Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie also held news conferences this morning to announce similar recommendations in Peel Region. 

Asked about online videos capturing confrontations over masks at grocery stores and businesses in the United States, Tory said he believes that people opposed to wearing a face covering represent a “tiny, tiny minority.”

As of Monday evening, there have been 14,270 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Toronto and 1,090 deaths.

Meanwhile, the city of Kingston, Ont., has already made mask use mandatory for workers and customers at many indoor public locations following an outbreak at a local nail salon.

With files from CBC’s Lucas Powers and Nick Boisvert


©2020 CBC/Radio-Canada. All rights reserved.

Vancouver Real Estate Market and among other major markets marked slowdown

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Brokers: Vancouver market still a long way from full recovery

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Despite the economy reopening, Vancouver is still far from its normal highs as one of Canada’s leading real estate destinations, according to local industry players.

Amid the continued ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market has been largely characterized by strict sanitation and social distancing measures among buyers and real estate professionals alike.

“We screen people who enter and exit homes very diligently. Almost all the showings are done with buyers’ agents,” said Steven Saretsky, a Vancouver-based realtor and markets observer. “It’s a little bit more work and effort, because there are more private showings as opposed to funnelling people through one house and collecting offers after.”

Saretsky said that the marked slowdown in Vancouver, which is also apparent in other major markets, will likely persist for the rest of the year.

“If we see any market correction it likely won’t be until Q4 when mortgage deferrals begin to expire,” Saretsky told the Financial Post.

Last month, markets observer Douglas Todd said that plummeting immigration numbers during the coronavirus crisis would have a significant impact on the Vancouver housing market.

“Start with the drastic drop in tourist numbers. With borders virtually closed to international travellers, investors who relied on short-term rentals like Airbnb to hold onto their properties have been left in the lurch. Many Airbnb hosts will likely be forced to sell,” Todd said. “Citizenship ceremonies have been cancelled during COVID-19 confinement and the processing of would-be permanent residents is being held back.”

Immigration accounted for roughly 85% of Metro Vancouver’s population increase in recent years, Todd said.

“This pandemic is sure to affect the choices of would-be immigrants,” Todd said. “And it will also affect people who might buy urban Canadian properties with money earned offshore, which is the gasoline that has been accelerating Vancouver’s already-unaffordable housing costs.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Canada Revenue Agency will be taking a closer look at Real Estate transaction

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

CRA to conduct cross-border investigation on real estate tax evasion

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The Canada Revenue Agency has announced that it will be taking a closer look at real estate transactions in the United States to search for Canadians with hidden income.

 In its cross-border investigations, the CRA will be studying transactions spanning from 2014 to 2020, with particular focus on owner names, municipal addresses and assessments, sales histories, and property land/floor areas, among others.

“This information will enhance the Agency’s ability to administer tax programs and to enhance the various tax Acts in order to protect Canada’s revenue base and to support the Agency’s business and research processes,” the CRA said in a notice. “The agency requires US real estate and real property data where a Canadian resident is the owner or party to the purchase, sale or transfer.”

In 2016, the agency instituted a fine of up to $8,000 for an owner failing to report the sale of their primary residence, although the sale itself is non-taxable.

The policy was intended to establish paper trails for taxable transactions such as sales of investment and recreational properties, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“In recent years, the agency has increasingly been identifying cases where taxpayers did not report their income from real estate transactions,” the CRA said last year. “The penalties and interest associated with unreported real estate sales can be substantial.”

Last year, the CRA estimated that the amount lost due to unpaid gross real estate taxes since 2015 was more than $1 billion.


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Canada Revenue Agency will be taking a closer look at Real Estate transaction

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

CRA to conduct cross-border investigation on real estate tax evasion

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Canada Revenue Agency will be taking a closer look at Real Estate transaction

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

CRA to conduct cross-border investigation on real estate tax evasion

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Canada Revenue Agency will be taking a closer look at Real Estate transaction

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

CRA to conduct cross-border investigation on real estate tax evasion

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

CRA: Tracks thousand beneficiaries abusing federal financial assistance programs

Monday, June 29th, 2020

CRA: Thousands abusing federal financial assistance programs

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Federal financial aid – which was intended to get households and businesses back on their feet amid the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic – is being taken advantage of by a significant number of cheaters, the Canada Revenue Agency has reported.

CRA told CBC that it is looking into more than 3,300 tips of benefit abuse as of June 21. This swelled from the 600 leads on May 31, and the 1,300 tips just over a week after.

CBC reported that around 361,000 repayments for CERB have already been made by Canadians who weren’t eligible for the program – up from the 190,000 repayments as of June 3.

CRA provided assurances that it conducts thorough pre-payment verifications and post-payment reviews on every applicant. The agency said that all repayments so far have been voluntary.

The agency did not release exact numbers, however. It also said that it will not provide monetary rewards for legitimate leads on suspected cheating.

“The Canada Revenue Agency does track the number of fraudulent CERB claims, but to protect the integrity of our processes, these specific statistics are not available at this time,” CRA said.

Conservative MP Dan Albas said that the confusion stems from the unclear eligibility rules.

“For months, Justin Trudeau has failed to take the issue of CERB fraud seriously. Instead of listening and fixing the gaps in existing programs, the Trudeau Liberals are giving hundreds of millions of dollars to fraudsters,” Albas said. “This is wrong. Conservatives will continue to make sure taxpayers are respected while ensuring support gets to Canadians who need it.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Canadian Housing Market is due for a crash

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Report says housing market is due for a crash

David Kitai
Mortgage Broker News

A report from an international macroeconomic research firm says that Canada’s economy is headed for a long, difficult period due largely to the effects of COVID-19 and the weaknesses in Canada’s housing market.

The report “Canada on thin ice as it heats up” by Macro Research Board (MRB) partners paints a bleak picture. The report says that Canada has followed global trends in falling into a ‘sudden stop’ recession with high unemployment and a plunge in activity. It says that Canada is more exposed than most economies, however, because of “an unstable real estate bubble and household credit binge.” It says policymakers are putting off the day of reckoning but have run out of ammunition and there is no guarantee they can prevent a housing bust. The report says such a correction will have long-term positive effects in creating more caution among Canadian consumers, the short to medium term will be a rocky road to recovery.

“The Canadian economy has been increasingly driven over the past decade by the real estate boom and debt-fueled consumption binge,” The report reads. “In turn, a substantial housing and credit bubble has developed on the back of overly accommodative policy. We previously identified Canada as a candidate for a future housing downturn and deleveraging cycle but had noted that there was a lack of a sufficient adverse catalyst to bring these imbalances home to roost3. That all changed this year. The heightened uncertainty caused by the surge in unemployment and plunge in household confidence may encourage many Canadians to reconsider stretching beyond their means heading forward.”

While the report notes that the Canadian government is aggressively attempting to prevent a major deleveraging cycle, if it does develop it may prove to difficult and costly to stop. They say most indices they’re watching, such as upticks in shopping or downturns in the amount of time Canadians are spending at home, don’t point to a surging restart in the Canadian economy.

Unemployment surging is, according to MRB partners, a “massive headwind” for Canada’s housing market. While low rates and stimulus are helpful, if job losses prove sticky during the reopening there’s a risk of a crash in the market. MRB’s analysts say Canada needs a V-shaped recovery to avoid such a crash.

Underlying this issue, according to the report, is a decade of surging property values and a deterioration in household balance sheets, with many Canadians now living in massive levels of consumer debt. Despite aggressive support policy, MRB says the housing bubble they see is set to burst, though they are closely watching activity as restrictions on viewings ease.

The report doesn’t make a regional breakdown of Canadian housing numbers, but does raise the concern that supply was already beginning out outpace demand before the pandemic. Unsold inventories have been surging over the past two years, at levels close to housing crash of the early 90s. As builders get back to work earlier than much of the general economy, the record levels of construction in cities like Toronto pose a risk of glutting the market.

MRB’s report says that emergency measures like CERB, the wage subsidy, and the deferral of mortgages, all risk compounding the problem. If they’re allowed to run out at a certain time and the economy fails to make a rapid and stark restart, MRB is highly concerned about the possibility of a “deferral cliff.”

“Extreme fiscal policy efforts are providing temporary support but it will prove difficult for Canadian policymakers to prevent a material housing fallout, unless the domestic (and global) economy experience a V-shaped recovery and soon restore employment to pre-shutdown levels (which we are not expecting),” the report reads. “Substantial oversupply and the lack of valuation support are major problems at a point when the housing market faces new and powerful headwinds. When homeowners are stretching to buy, they need to believe that their jobs are secured (and wages will increase) and that their home value will continue to appreciate. If these conditions are threatened (which is now the case), it can quickly weaken confidence and housing demand, causing prices to fall substantially. This was last seen in the U.S. and parts of Europe during the late-2000s. Canada is now at the cusp of heading down this path if employment and job security do not rebound strongly and shortly.”


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

The road to a full recovery, defined as economic activity reaching its pre-COVID-19 level, B.C

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

B.C. will lead post-pandemic recovery

Tyler Orton
Western Investor

British Columbia is poised to weather the economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 better than all other provinces, according to a new report from Deloitte Canada.

“The B.C. economy will be the outperformer, posting the mildest downturn and returning to pre-COVID levels the quickest,” Deloitte Canada chief economist Craig Alexander wrote in a June 25 outlook.

Following up with Business in Vancouver, Alexander said B.C. can still expect a “severe” recession far worse than the Great Recession that unfolded more than a decade ago.

He noted that large parts of the B.C. economy, such as the service sector and hospitality, have been ravaged by the impacts of COVID-19.

“But if we look at the economic contraction and recovery in B.C., I think that you’re likely to find that the contraction is a bit less than the national average,” he said, adding the recovery will also be “a bit stronger” than the national numbers.

The outlook calls for the B.C. economy to contract by about 5 per cent in 2020 before experiencing just over 6% growing in 2021.

Canada, meanwhile, is expected to see its economy contract by 5.9 per cent this year before growing 5.6 per cent in 2021.

“A lot of this has to do with the success that B.C. has had in bending the curve on the number of new infections. B.C.’s done better than other provinces,” Alexander told BIV.

The economist added the province has also acquitted itself in terms of how it handled the initial shutdown and subsequent reopening of the economy.

“B.C. elected to say, ‘Given the type of work that was taking place … that residential construction was actually essential.’ So, it was kept open,” Alexander said, pointing to one example.

“So those sorts of policy decisions combined with a better record in terms of [COVID-19 cases] are why I think B.C. is going to outperform.”

The biggest challenge ahead is the potential for a second wave of COVID-19 to hit Canada, particularly if this leads to more lockdowns, he added.

“So long as this does not occur, and the gradual reopening continues globally, 

a recovery should unfold in Canada in the second half of 2020,” the outlook states.

“However, the road to a full recovery, defined as economic activity reaching its pre-COVID-19 level, will take at least six quarters. This is due to continued health risks and the gradual nature of the economic reopening. It will also be hindered by expected weakness in the commodity sector.”

Economists at the Business Council of B.C. (BCBC) last week forecasted the province’s GDP will shrink 7.8 per cent in 2020 — a greater contraction than the 7.3 per cent they predicted in March.

The BCBC also sees the province’s contraction as less pronounced than Canada as a whole, which the council forecasted as shrinking 8% in 2020 if no second wave of COVID-19 hits the country.  

If a second wave hits, Canada is looking at a 9.4 per cent decline in real GDP before growing 1.5 per cent next year.

The West Coast economy is, however, forecast to grow 4.8 per cent in 2021, according to the BCBC.


© Copyright 2020 Western Investor

Macroeconomic research foresee about housing market is due for a crash

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Report says housing market is due for a crash

David Kitai
Mortgage Broker News