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Sunday , 26 March 2017

Category Archives: Urban Living

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Features on the downtown scene, events and urban living.

Real estate in Canada a hotbed of money laundering, organized crime?

Where conditions exist in which a certain type of activity could be expected to occur frequently but does not, its apparent lack of occurrence must be attributable to a failure to report it. For example: Canada’s residential real estate industry, which includes over 100,000 brokers, agents, builders and developers, and generates about $1 trillion a year in mortgage transactions, could be expected to be rife with fraud, corruption and money laundering, with all that money being passed around, much of it coming from outside the country. In fact, the government oversight body that watches for suspicious financial activity, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), received just ... Read More »

Wood-burning fireplaces are lovely, but maybe not the best choice for a condo

A little over a year ago, the city of Montreal introduced one of the strictest bylaws in North America to regulate the use of wood-burning appliances and fireplaces. As of December 2015, Montrealers who used such appliances had to register them. Starting next year, they will be banned outright unless they meet a rigorous new air-quality standard. It can cost several thousand dollars to upgrade or replace a wood stove or fireplace to make it compliant with the new standard. The Montreal move, part of its climate-change plans to reduce emissions, has been called an “outrage” by some, part of a wider plot by governments to stifle independence by others. ... Read More »

Canadians a conservative bunch when banking, financial advice are involved

Canada’s big banks have a reputation for being ultra-conservative financially, a fact that stood them (and us) well in the financial crisis of the previous decade. It looks like that fiscal conservatism could be in all of us. A study of consumers in eighteen markets in North and South America, Asia and Europe found that Canadians trail the world in the adoption of fintech and various kinds of new automated financial services. Dividing financial consumers into three main groups based on their needs and priorities—nomads, hunters and quality seekers—the study from Accenture Financial Services shows that more Canadians are in the rather stodgy quality seeker category than in any other ... Read More »

More incentives announced to get people buying electric cars in Ontario

The government of Ontario is hoping that you are thinking about buying an electric or hybrid car. To encourage this line of thinking, and to help it achieve its greenhouse gas emissions targets, Ontario has increased the incentives it offers to EV purchasers. Under the existing Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (EVIP), vehicles can qualify for incentives of from $6,000 to $13,000, depending on battery size, as well as an additional $1,000 if the vehicle has five or more seats. The new terms remove a cap that limits incentives to 30 per cent of the vehicle’s price. An incentives cap of $3,000 on more expensive EVs ($75,000–$150,000) that are fully battery ... Read More »

Tougher label laws demanded for hazardous consumer, household chemicals

Shopping for consumer products has always been something of an act of faith. You go to the store and buy something, say a box of those hollow chocolate Santas that show up in stores at Christmas time, and you give them out as stocking stuffers or hang them on your Christmas tree, confident that the kids will enjoy them. How would you know that one particular brand of those holiday treats would be recalled by the manufacturer because the chocolate might contain bits of plastic that could be a choking hazard? Unless you devoted a lot of time and effort to keeping up on these things, or, heaven forbid, someone ... Read More »

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