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Wednesday , 29 March 2017

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Report warns that Amazon stifles competition, threatens communities

Chances are that you will do at least some of your Christmas shopping online this year, and that will likely mean at Amazon. One dollar in every two spent by Americans online goes to Amazon, and it can be assumed a similar amount is spent by Canadians. Most people no longer bother to search when they want to buy something online; they go straight to Amazon. The online retailer sells more books, toys and soon apparel and consumer electronics than any other retailer, online or off. It is also investing heavily in the grocery business. Amazon now rivals Walmart in the retail sector and is growing fast. Not a bad ... Read More »

Stem cell research venture a big boost to Canada’s biotech industry

Even though it has been touted as one of the most potentially beneficial areas of scientific research, the study of stem cells continues to raise controversy. An experiment announced in India earlier this year, which would have used stem cells to attempt to regenerate brain cells in brain dead patients, was described in the press as “Frankenstein-esque” and was cancelled after the researchers failed to get permission from patients’ family members to perform the trials. In France this week, the parents of an unborn baby became the first to win the right to harvest stem cells from its umbilical cord when it is born, and to preserve the cells in ... Read More »

Regulators everywhere seek ways to control growth of short-term rentals

A couple of recent legal rulings in Ontario show that the use of one’s home as a short-term rental business is likely to become more and more regulated in this province. In one case, the owner of a house in Willowdale was convicted of violating a zoning bylaw. It was the first conviction to date, though the city’s licensing department is reportedly investigating a couple of dozen other cases. The bylaw in question specifies that a short-term rental must be for at least seven days. The house in this case had been the subject of complaints from neighbours. The owner could face a fine of up to $50,000, though that ... Read More »

Toronto’s office vacancy rate lowest in NA, finance sector a key driver

Canada’s commercial real estate sector is on track for setting a new record for transactions completed in 2016. Investment in Canadian commercial real estate reached $11.2 billion in the third quarter, reports CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm. To date, investment totals $27.4 billion; CBRE predicts that the year-end total will exceed $35 billion, the highest ever. A large share (41 per cent) of the capital invested in the third quarter came from foreign sources, and most of that was directed at Canadian hotels, though every asset class posted strong gains. Toronto attracted the largest share of investment. CBRE said in a statement that appetite ... Read More »

Toronto officially launches initiative to become more resilient

The City of Toronto announced today that it has launched a “major effort” to improve the city’s resilience to the shocks and stresses of the twenty-first century. It follows Toronto’s joining of the 100 Resilient Cities Network, described as a global community of cities working to improve their resilience. The mayor said he was committed to improving how the city functions for all who “live, work and invest here,” and that to do so we need to take a hard look at stresses like housing, transit and natural disasters. “We need to find innovative ways to address them so Toronto can continue to be one of the most livable and ... Read More »

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