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Saturday , 25 March 2017

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Canadians have right to broadband no matter where they live: CRTC

There’s good news for Canadian internet users, especially those who live in rural and remote areas. Broadband internet access is now considered a basic telecommunications service for all Canadians. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today that it is shifting its regulatory focus from wireline voice to broadband services and has established a new $750 million funding mechanism to help meet its objectives. It has also set new speed targets for fixed broadband service: 50 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloading from the internet, and 10 Mbps for uploading. These must be the actual speeds delivered, not merely the advertised speeds. As of 2015, 82 per cent of ... Read More »

Housing affordability slipping in Canada, but mostly in Toronto and Vancouver

Depending on where they live and what kind of home they are looking for, Canadians could find it more of a struggle to afford what they want. RBC says owning a home in Canada became less affordable in the third quarter of this year than at any time in the last eight years. The index it uses to indicate how much of a household’s pre-tax income is required to cover the costs of home ownership, including mortgage payments, taxes and utilities, rose by 1.3 per cent to 44.3. An increase indicates a deterioration in affordability. Looking at the report a little more closely reveals that there are really just a ... Read More »

Planning a trip? Check out the hotel of the future

Maybe it’s easier to predict the future today than it was years ago. We already have a lot of stuff that no futurist ever dreamed of, though they tend to be more mundane things like smart phones and virtual reality glasses. On the other hand, science fiction writers of the past have often got things wrong. We should be routinely traveling among the stars and visiting other inhabited planets by now, if Arthur C Clarke had been right in his 1948 story “The Sentinel,” which became the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. We don’t have time machines, we can’t beam each other up (Scotty), and we can’t travel at “warp ... Read More »

Ontario residents very positive about housing markets despite rising prices

Given the almost daily reports of higher prices, tougher mortgage lending rules, and dwindling supply of certain types of homes, one might expect Ontarians to take a fairly dim view of the real estate market in this province. Surprisingly, that is far from the case. Ontarians are positively overflowing with optimism about the housing market as they look ahead to 2017. To put a number on it, the Ontario Home Ownership Index, which reflects people’s views about residential real estate in their area, reached an all-time high of 131. At this time last year, the index sat at 102. More than half of Ontarians (55 per cent) view their neighbourhood ... Read More »

Consumers more positive about economy as holiday shopping season enters final week

Your country needs you—to spend. In 2016, consumer spending was up 2.2 per cent, says BMO, and conditions continue to be “favourable” for consumers. Employment is up, household net worth is up, owners’ equity in real estate is up, and consumer confidence is up. The fact that household indebtedness is also up is the only potential fly in the ointment, though BMO points out that the ratio of consumers’ debt to their net worth has declined. We owe more, but we’re worth more. This situation, in which low interest rates encourage consumers to keep the economy humming, is forecast to continue in 2017. How do consumers feel about it? Pretty ... Read More »

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