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Wednesday , 22 February 2017

Monthly Archives: March 2015

Strong real estate helps offset weak natural resources in Teachers’ plan

Diversify. It’s one of the fundamental tenets of the successful investor. You don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The performance of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’) provides a good example of why this is true. The plan just announced that its rate of return on investment for the year 2014 was 11.8 per cent. The value of assets controlled by Teachers’ increased to $154.5 billion, a new record. The investments earned $16.3 billion, compared to $13.7 billion in 2013. As Ron Mock, president and CEO of Teachers’ noted in an understated way, “these strong results were achieved in a turbulent investment environment.” Interest rates have been low, ... Read More »

Natural light, nice views, colours make office less stressful, more creative

If you think the office where you work is ugly and soul destroying, watch the 1960 Billy Wilder multi-Oscar winning movie The Apartment. In a large New York City insurance company, an army of wage slaves toils, each drone seated at an identical desk in seemingly endless rows that stretch to infinity in a vast, fluorescent-lit, concrete-pillared hell. No window can be seen anywhere in the office. The film was shot in black and white just to make sure we experience all its colourless grimness. As Roger Ebert wrote, cubicles would have come as “revolutionary progress” in this bleak world. Obviously, fifty and more years ago offices like this were ... Read More »

Public interest not served by regulation of skilled trades: report

Ontario’s construction industry is at a crossroads, says a new report written for some of the province’s most prominent construction associations. The industry’s role is clear: to build “safe and affordable homes” for Ontarians, as well as all the other types of buildings we need, from industrial plants to subways. The problem is a “growing and often uncoordinated regulatory burden,” which is threatening the industry’s ability to meet its objectives. The focus of the report is the role of the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) in the regulation of the skilled trades in Ontario. This regulatory body, the report maintains, was formed to protect the public interest but is not ... Read More »

Mortgage rates lower than ever, but look for other key features

It seems that Canadians are getting used to living in a world in which mortgage rates are low and home prices are high. Canadians have traditionally preferred the security of a fixed-rate mortgage rather than the variable-rate type. CIBC says it has new data showing that the preference for five-year fixed-rate mortgages is stronger than ever. A Nielsen poll found that well over half (57 per cent) of Canadians consider this the right mortgage for them, compared to just 39 per cent in 2011. “The poll results confirm what many of our clients are telling us, that they don’t expect rates to go any lower and, in today’s housing market, ... Read More »

Workers killed in fall days before new safety laws take effect

The sad news that two workers have died in a fall from a hydraulic scaffold at a construction site in Toronto comes just days before new regulations come into effect under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The amendments to the Act, which come into effect on April 1, mandate that workers and their supervisors on construction projects must complete a basic safety training program. The amendments specifically deal with fall prevention, though not with reference to scaffolds and swing stages—those suspended platforms commonly used by window washers and other workers on construction sites—which are covered in a separate section of the Act. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that the ... Read More »

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