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Bank of Canada hikes rate, what it means for Canadians

Richard Southern, News Staff, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jul 12th, 2018

The Bank of Canada, as expected, raised its trend setting interest rate 0.25 per cent to 1.5 per cent. It is really an indication that the Canadian economy is doing well.

The job market has improved as the country added 32,000 jobs in June. The increase also comes as the Bank looks to fight rising inflation which has risen above its 2 per cent target.

This is the second rate increase of the year, though many economists think the Bank of Canada will be on hold for the rest of 2018 because of the trade war with the US. Indeed, the BOC left the door open for a rate cut if things get worse on the trade front.

But BMO Canadian Rates & Macro Strategist Benjamin Reitzes said another interest hike is pencilled in for October.

‘We’re at the mercy of President Trump at this point,” Reitzes said. “Negotiations are handicapping the rate of tariffs being placed on Canadian autos.”

The Bank of Canada says persistent trade uncertainty and Canada’s tariff fight with the United States will shave nearly 0.7 per cent from economic growth by the end of 2020 — but it predicts the blow to be largely offset by the positive impact of higher oil prices.

The Bank of Canada is also releasing its quarterly update of projections, which predicts slightly stronger growth in both 2019 and 2020, compared with its outlook in April.

The central bank says Canadian growth will continue to see bigger contributions from exports and business investment, while it expects household spending to represent a smaller share due to the dampening effects of higher interest rates and stricter mortgage rules.

So what does the rate hike mean for Canadians? Well, it’s good news for savers.

Investments that have a fixed rate of return, like Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), often rose along with interest rates.

No need to worry if you have a fixed rate mortgage, it’s not going to change. But if you have a variable rate mortgage you will be paying more almost immediately. Variable rates by definition are subject to changes, but the biggest moves are seen when the BOC hikes rates. According to ratehub.ca, a mortgage worth $400,000 amortized over 25 years with a 5-year variable rate of 2.50 per cent, will now cost $50 more per month or $600 more per year.

Anything with a variable rate will go up. Business loans, student loans, lines of credit and home equity lines of credit will cost more to service. Most credit cards are fixed rates so you won’t be charged any more for those. Your credit card company and bank have to inform you before they raise your interest rates on your credit card.

“Everyone’s got a different situation so it’s impossible to say how this will affect every individual. What we can expect is variable rates to move higher and the trend in mortgage rates generally continue to go higher,” Reitzes said.

Parkdale. Where cheap rent can cost you your home

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 12th, 2018

Most people celebrate if they find an affordable apartment in Toronto’s red hot rental market. Glenn Aubrey believes it’s the root of many of his current problems.

Aubrey is one of many low-income Parkdale residents who believe they are being pushed out of their apartments by landlords and realtors intent on maximizing profits.

Aubrey, who lives at 116 Spencer Avenue, said the building was sold last year and a new property management team quickly made its presence felt, beefing up security, ordering an exhausting string of inspections, and ignoring his pleas for repairs.

“Security guards are now showing up and telling us we can’t gather on the porch,” he explained. “They cancelled our yard sale which had been an annual event. I’m not allowed to smoke or drink on the porch, which you’d always been able to do here. There were damages, bed bugs, cockroaches, and they don’t respond.”

He believes management wants him gone so they can renovate and hike the rent on his unit — something he’s already seen happen in the complex.

“I’ve been here for five years now. My rent started at $625 and right now I’m paying $657,” he told CityNews. “From what I’ve been told my neighbours on this floor are paying $1345 for the exact same unit …And one lady upstairs is paying $2000.”

“I’m not paying enough rent if they can get $1600 for this unit.”

Like many, Aubrey has noticed the omnipresent posters of a man’s face plastered throughout the neighbourhood with the title The Man Who Sold Parkdale. The posters have been glued to hydro poles, parking meters, and garbage bins along Queen and King streets and on side streets throughout Parkdale.

Aubrey recognized the man on the posters as real estate agent, Nick Brewerton.

“I’ve recently seen some of the posters go up and that’s when I looked back through some of my notices to see that he was the real estate agent (dealing with) this building. I thought it was a little suspicious that he kept coming in to look at the unit … This is part of their process to say ‘we can renovate this and charge so much for it.’ ”

CityNews has obtained documents that show Brewerton has worked on behalf of the landlord at 116 Spencer Avenue when communicating with tenants about inspections.

While a plethora of factors are at play when it comes to escalating real estate and rental costs, Brewerton’s face is now being used in an anonymous campaign to symbolize the ills of gentrification.

He believes it’s an unfair depiction, saying he has nothing to do with tenants being displaced by landlords.

“In all of the property sales I have arranged, the tenants have remained, and the landlord’s responsibilities have been assumed by the buyer as the new landlord. This has been fully documented by the lawyers in each transaction,” Brewerton said in a statement to CityNews.

“I am aware of concerns generally about rising rents and am sympathetic to anyone having to move and look for an apartment … as a realtor, I would have no role or ability to intervene in any situation of tenants who are being displaced, as this would be a matter between the landlord and the tenants.”

But one community legal worker believes realtors should shoulder some of the blame when low-income tenants are displaced, saying some are exploiting legal loopholes to push residents out.

“There is a huge gap in the Ontario laws where if a landlord is able to push out long-term tenants they are able to raise the rent to whatever they see fit,” Vic Natola, a paralegal at Parkdale Community Legal Services, told CityNews.

“We are seeing real estate agents … adding more fire to this problem … approaching older landlords who are thinking of retiring and getting out of the business, and letting them know that if (they) can push out long-term tenants from the building … (they) can make a lot more money.”

“(It) is not illegal, unfortunately … but I would consider it unethical,” Natola added.

Community pushes back

Joshua Barndt of Parkdale Neigbhourhood Land Trust said he understands the frustration behind the postering and online campaign targeting Brewerton.

CityNews reached out to the anonymous person/persons behind the campaign through their website, but has not received a response.

In the meantime, Barndt says real estate agents are a natural target for frustration from residents who feel taken advantage of.

“There are particular realtors in the neighbourhood who are marketing these privately-owned, affordable housing buildings as potentially very profitable investment properties,” Barndt told CityNews.

“The way that profit is created is that low-income tenants are pushed out.  So tenants are finding creative ways … to push back against forces that are trying to hurt them.”

Barndt adds that the ramifications of displacement are staggering, and can result in a new wave of people who call the streets their home.

“The homelessness crisis in this neighbourhood and city is going to escalate and the city does not have the capacity to face that challenge,” he warned.

“For people being priced out or pushed out of their homes, they’re not only losing their home but they are losing their support network, they are losing the services they need. They are losing their communities…so of course it throws people into crisis.”

Parkdale resident, Wahid Bayan, knows that all too well. He moved into a rooming house after escalating rents forced him out of the Jameson Avenue apartment he called home for the last decade.

He now fears it’s only a matter of time until he’ll be pushed out of Parkdale for good.

“The sweetest place you’re gonna be is Parkdale,” he said. “There is food, there’s a lot of help, harm reduction, legal aid, the food bank. This is the only place to be if you are a low-income person. This is the only place you can survive….and you’ll be chased out of here.”

Ikea Canada recalls water dispenser for pets due to suffocation risk

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jul 12th, 2018

Ikea Canada is recalling a water dispenser for pets due to a risk of suffocation.

The company made the move after receiving reports that two dogs got their heads stuck in the dispenser’s dome and suffocated.

The company says it has sold 7,767 LURVIG water dispensers in Canada from October 2017 to July 2018, but there were no reported incidents in this country.

It is urging customers to stop using the water dispenser and return it to an Ikea store for a full refund.

Drivers can expect delays along lakeshore due to Honda Indy

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jul 11th, 2018

Race cars will soon be roaring down Toronto’s lakeshore as part of the Honda Indy, and that means road closures near the track for drivers commuting in the area.

Strachan Avenue between Fleet Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West will be closed at noon Wednesday.

Then at 8 p.m., Lake Shore will shut down from Strachan to British Columbia Drive.

These roads are scheduled to be reopen at 11 p.m. on Sunday.

But then, the westbound curb and middle lanes of Lake Shore between Strachan and Ontario Drive will be closed from midnight Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday. This shutdown is so that crews can remove the barriers that were set up for the Indy.

Toronto police say drivers can expect “significant delays” in the area due to the road closures.

The Honda Indy starts on Friday with practice and qualifying runs, which continue into Saturday. The main race is on Sunday afternoon.

Anyone attending Indy this weekend is encouraged to take public transit. Both the TTC and GO Transit will be providing extra service to Exhibition Place.

Ontario coroner investigating 3 potential heat-related deaths

ALANNA RIZZA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jul 11th, 2018

Ontario’s chief coroner says three recent deaths in the province may have been related to heat, compared to dozens already reported in Quebec.

Dr. Dirk Huyer told reporters on Tuesday that the three deaths were reported over the last four days.

Quebec health authorities have said that up to 70 people died from heat-related complications in a recent heat wave, including 34 in Montreal alone.

Huyer said the numbers are so different in part because Ontario performs autopsies before declaring a cause of death, and it can take months for those results to come in.

Ontario also defines heat-related deaths differently than Quebec _ it only counts a death as heat-related if the temperature is the direct or major cause, he said.

It can be “challenging” to determine if heat was the main cause of death, he said, noting there are other ways to gauge the scope of the issue, including heat-related emergency department visits.

“Deaths are really not a good measure in a real-time point of view to understand a health problem,” Huyer said.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said heat-related data are collected in Ontario’s heat warning and information system report but that document does not collect statistics on deaths.

However, Williams said he will be consulting with public health officials on what the province should do to better to alert the public and help municipalities respond with more targeted programs.

Last week’s heat wave in Quebec and Ontario saw temperatures reach over 35 C, with humidex values in the mid-40s.

Quebec officials have said many of those who died were already suffering from chronic conditions that were worsened by the heat.

Montreal’s public health office said on Saturday that the majority of people who died in the city were over the age of 60.

Following a food blogger’s diet can be dangerous to your health

MALEEHA SHEIKH | posted Wednesday, Jul 11th, 2018

Food bloggers hold a lot of power. They tell you what to eat if you want to look like them. But many are lacking the credentials to back up their claims.

It’s a frightening trend that has sounded the alarm for one Ontario mom, who is concerned not only for her daughter’s health but other impressionable people too.

Amreena Hussein says like many others, her 16-year-old daughter used to spend a lot of time online looking up popular hashtags, such as #nocarbs, #nosugar, #cleaneating.

“She would be looking at these food bloggers or… people who are on diets,  promoting certain diets and she’s like oh they’re doing this, why can’t I do it?”

Hussein’s daughter isn’t on Instagram anymore because she doesn’t support a lot of diets being promoted online .

“When you get into the realm of you know I’m doing this and you should do this too because this is what you’re going to look like, I think it creates problems for people,” Hussein said.

Toronto dietitian Andy Desantis agreed.

“One of the most common issues that I see in my practice is people who come in and they’re afraid of carbohydrates they’re afraid of sugar to the point where they won’t have any fruit in their diet and that’s where kind of draw the line and say that’s a really big concern.”

recent study finds those who use Instagram have a higher chance of developing Orthorexia nervosa. It’s an emerging concept, which means an obsession with eating clean.

Desantis says a lot of the healthiest foods out there that help people live a long time are fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and other whole grains that are good for you. He says it doesn’t make sense to deprive yourself of them, no matter what any blogger says.

He adds, you should be getting your nutritional advice from registered dietitians and not just any person who calls themselves nutritionists.

Every person is different and while you may not see any harmful effects of cutting out complete food groups short-term, you can face health problems in the long run.

Bombardier exec apologizes to TTC over delivery of 89 faulty streetcars

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jul 11th, 2018

The president of Bombardier Transportation made his first appearance at Toronto’s transit commission board meeting on Tuesday and apologized for the latest problems with the streetcars his company delivered to the city.

“We understand and share the disappointment of the mayor, the board and the TTC riders. We truly apologize,” said Benoit Brossoit.

The transit authority said last week that the first 67 of 89 streetcars would be sent back for preventative repairs due to a welding issue.

Although the majority of streetcars will be sent back to Bombardier’s Welding Centre of Excellence in La Pocatiere, Que., Brossoit said the issue poses no safety risk to riders and staff members taking the TTC streetcars.

“Bombardier is Canadian and we are committed to Ontario,” said Brossoit, adding that all measures had been taken to fix this production issue.

To minimize the effect on service, only three or four cars will be repaired at a time. The shipping and repairs of the cars should take 19 weeks to be completed.

All 67 streetcars are scheduled to be fixed by 2022.

The problem was identified by Bombardier 18 months ago and involves work completed in Mexico.

Bombardier’s chief operating officer David Van der Wee told the board that the level of complexity of building the TTC streetcars was higher than expected. He assured the board that the root causes of the issue have been corrected and that the entire cost of the repairs will be covered by Bombardier.

“When narrowing down the issue to 67 cars, I want to highlight that we work with very conservative assumptions, always to be on the safe side of things,” he said.

Programs like this are complex and full of challenges, said Brossoit.

“Our commitment is to deliver on our promises, but, also to make it right when situation like this occur,” he said.

“Bombardier stands by its product. Always, no compromise,” he added.

The delays and recent production issues in the $1-billion order has caused frustration on the part of the board members, the TTC riders and the mayor.

TTC Chair Josh Colle said the streetcars were needed as soon as possible to serve passengers and replace the older ones.

“I strongly recommend you take a ride on some of those crowded, leaky, beasts of streetcars that are serving our passengers right now,” he told them.

TTC board member Rick Byers asked the president of Bombardier whether he should be trusted when telling the board that no more delays are expected.

Byers said it had been an “unbelievably frustrating experience for the people in this commission, but more importantly for the riders.”

“For us to have had to defend you, as I have had to do, it has been difficult,” he said.

Brossoit reassured the board that despite the repeated delays and recent production problems, the streetcars were his main focus and have been so since he started on the job.

He said the cars would be delivered on time.

“We are fully committed to the overall delivery of the 204 cars by the end of 2019. This means 77 more cars next year,” said Brossoit.

Rick Leary appointed TTC CEO by unanimous vote

BETTY WONDIMU | posted Wednesday, Jul 11th, 2018

TTC board has voted unanimously to name Rick Leary as CEO.

Leary stepped in as interim CEO last year when former Andy Byford left to become president of the New York City Transit Authority. Prior to that, Leary was the TTC’s Chief Service Officer since May 2014.

Before joining the TTC, Leary was already a transit veteran. He worked for Boston’s transit system for more than 25 years and served as York Region Transit’s general manager for four years.

The 55-year-old began his career as a train attendant in 1984 and is married with three children.

Local transit leaders, including Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster, have already come forward to congratulate Leary:



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