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Wednesday , 29 March 2017

Monthly Archives: April 2014

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 »

Americans, Canadians share growing faith in real estate

Canadians and Americans have much in common, and a few big differences. One of the commonalities has always been the dream of home ownership. Two recent polls, one by RBC in this country, the other by Gallup in the US, show that that faith in real estate remains high. Though the two polls took slightly different approaches to the subject—the RBC survey wanted to know if Canadians planned to buy a home in the next two years, while the Gallup poll asked the broader question of what would be the best option for long-term investment—they show that a positive view of real estate has been growing in both countries. Asked ... Read More »

Wood in construction can reduce carbon emissions, say reports

It’s Earth Day again, and as usual, its arrival rouses mixed feelings in many. On the one hand, we have children in many parts of the world (though mostly in the developed world), cleaning up rivers, planting trees turning off lights and thinking about what they can do to help, while conscientious adults make a donation to a “green” cause  or ride their bicycle to work: on the other, the unchecked industrial despoliation of the oceans and the earth for the profit of global business. Is there any doubt as to the outcome? There is reason for hope, however, even after the most pessimistic report ever from the United Nations ... Read More »

Home renovating fastest growing segment of housing industry

The home renovation industry is growing faster than the home building industry in Canada. The total value of residential housing in Canada in 2013 was $128 billion, according to a new Scotiabank Industry Trends report on housing. The biggest share of that, 45 per cent, came from new home construction, followed by renovation spending at 37 per cent. The remaining 18 per cent was transfer costs, consisting of the fees and taxes associated with real estate transactions. But it was the renovation segment that showed the fastest growth from 2000 to 2012.  Money spent on renovations during that time increased by 6 per cent annually; this was twice the rate ... Read More »

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