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Archive for November, 2018

Job cuts will slow market, but for how long?

While Oshawa’s real estate market will be robust in the long run, it should expect a short-term downturn after news broke Sunday evening that General Motors is slashing as many as 2,500 jobs.

“The impact will be short lived,” said Dan Plowman, owner of Dan Plowman Team Realty Inc. “People can only freeze their buying and selling for so long—and people do freeze when they hear bad news. I remember in the ‘90s, there would be shutdowns and layoffs at the plant, and people, of course, froze. It’s terrible that the collective bargaining agreement is not being lived up to by General Motors, but I also believe our town today is not as reliant on General Motors for its work infrastructure. Oshawa is very commutable to the City of Toronto now.”

Realistically, auto manufacturing isn’t one of Oshawa’s top-three industries, so while the long-term impact of the GM plant shutting down will be negligible on the housing market, Plowman notes that the consumer psyche is fragile, and that’s enough for a temporal chill.

“Perception is reality and bad news obviously has an impact,” he said. “I believe that when people freeze—in other words, when they’re scared or uncertain—they tend to be more conservative, whether with retail shopping or purchasing cars, or even buying secondary properties, but it only last a little while. I say 60 to 90 days.”

Added Michael Dominguez, a sales representative with REMAX Jazz in Oshawa, and owner of company name is Doors to Wealth Group:

“There have been changes over the last 10 to 15 years where plants have shut down and where we’ve seen drops of 2,000-3,000 employees in one shot.The reality is that the Oshawa market has changed so much over the past generation or so that the automotive sector doesn’t represent one of the top three industries in our area. We’re fortunate we’ve been able to diversify.”

Dominguez has already fielded a few phone calls from worried investor clients, and not only does he tell them that there isn’t anything to worry about, there’s actually an opportunity to capitalize.

“I know of two deals that were conditional where people pulled out as a result of this, and I believe that for the next three to six months there’s going to be a lot of investors sitting on sidelines waiting to see what’s going to happen in marketplace,” said Dominguez. “My advice is to take advantage of this opportunity because many novice investors will sit and watch what happens.”

by Neil Sharma

28 Nov 2018


Looming labour shortage could accelerate supply crunch

A major labour shortage in the construction industry is looming, and that could further hamper delivery of Ontario’s already constrained housing supply.

Ontario will need about 90,000 people in the next 10 years to fulfill trades jobs in the residential construction industry primarily because of retirements, and this past spring the shortage was noticeable across the province’s construction sites.

“The shortages have been going on already for three to five years and they are very real,” said Patrick McManus, chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance. “In our sector, we couldn’t find people in the spring of this past year and there tends to be a lot of people out there in the spring. We were already experiencing shortage at start of construction season and that’s something new that speaks to how far the shortage has pushed its way through industry. It’s quite concerning.”

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario and the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance are in the process of surveying skilled trades workers in a bid to solve the industry’s impending labour shortage.

“It’s the largest survey ever done in Ontario of its kind, trying to get into retention issues in residential and related infrastructure trades,” said RESCON’s Vice President Andrew Pariser. “We partnered with George Brown’s Job Talks to take an academic approach to skilled trade issues, and they seriously questions the thoughts and feelings of why a tradesperson might enjoy, or might not enjoy, their job. One reason we picked them is they had done a federal study on trades like ironworkers and crane operators.”

Another one of the organizations’ goals is to raise the profile of trades jobs because, as Pariser says, people do not gravitate towards jobs they don’t know exist.

“We’re trying to bring more profile to lesser-known trades, as well,” he said.

With high-rise construction at an all-time high, elucidating the need for more workers in the sector, that could just as easily be the low-rise construction industry in a few years.

“What exacerbates it is residential construction is a lot of boom and bust,” said McManus. “High-rise is busy and needs trades there while low-rise is slowing down, but if it starts back up we’ll be starting at a lower point. We might not need a bricklayer tomorrow, but we might need them in two years, or four years, or five years. We have to take a long-term view. It’s about planning for the future and ensuring we are able to train people interested in construction.”

by Neil Sharma

November 22, 2018

Will covert data collection derail ambitious ‘future city?’

Attempting to cement its place among the world’s great cities, Toronto’s ambitious Quayside project is under fire over privacy concerns.

The “smart city” being developed by Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, a company under the Alphabet Inc. umbrella, has been described as a neighbourhood being built “from the internet up.” To be spread over 12 acres on Toronto’s waterfront, which is being redeveloped in what has become the largest infrastructure project on the continent, Quayside has drawn the ire of everyone from activists to technology researchers, who cite fears of covert data gathering .

Ann Covoukian, a prominent privacy expert, resigned last month from the project because she doesn’t believe enough is being done to address residents’ privacy concerns. Initially told that any data collected would be discarded, Cavoukian subsequently learned that third parties could, and probably would, access and mine the information.

“I imagined us creating a Smart City of Privacy, as opposed to a Smart City of Surveillance,” Cavoukian wrote in her resignation letter, reports Global News.

In an op-ed, BlackBerry CEO Jim Balsillie described Quayside as “a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism attempting to bulldoze important urban, civic and political issues.”

Balsillie took particular umbrage with Waterfront Toronto, which he wrote “continues to weaponize ambiguity while making irreversible decisions that will have major negative effects on all Canadians,” before then asking, “Is this how we want our cities and the future of our country managed?”

A Waterfront Toronto board member as well as two digital advisers also resigned months ago, with yet more threatening to leave if change is not forthcoming.

Saadia Muzaffar, a leading technologist and founder of TechGirls, resigned from Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel last month because she believes it is writ large that the project’s operators are ignoring residents’ privacy concerns.

According to her resignation letter, “There is nothing innovative about city-building that disenfranchises its residents in insidious ways and robs valuable earnings out of public budgets, or commits scarce public funds to the ongoing maintenance of technology that city leadership has not even declared a need for.”

Sidewalk Labs has launched a public relations offensive to combat the bad press, but whatever ultimately becomes of Quayside may very well serve as the blueprint for more cities of its kind in the future.


by Neil Sharma

18 Nov 2018



National Bank launches remote mortgage pre-approval

National Bank of Canada has launched a new online mortgage application solution as part of its commitment to enhancing its digital shift, NBC’s personal banking customers can apply for mortgage pre-approval remotely in just a few steps and receive a certificate within 2 working days confirming the amount and rate guaranteed for 90 days.

Homebuyers can then use the certificate to prove their mortgage offer when making an offer on their chosen home.

"This new solution will considerably enhance National Bank's digital offering as well as future homebuyers' experience. It's fast, it's easy and clients can enjoy autonomy in the process or benefit from the support of one of our mortgage experts, at their convenience,” stated Lucie Blanchet, EVP Personal Banking and Marketing at National Bank. “Buying a home is a key moment in a client's life and we're here to make the process easier."

Clients can stop anytime during the online process and go back to where they left off or continue with the help of a mortgage loan expert.

The launch of this new mortgage solution follows the rollout of the new transaction site for Personal Banking clients, the new website, the new my debit contactless debit card, Apple Pay and Android Pay digital wallet service and new ABMs.

by Steve Randall

05 Nov 2018

Owner receives an incorrect status certificate

What happens when an owner receives an incorrect status certificate issued by a condominium corporation?

That was the issue in a case before the Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year.

Back in 2013, Mr. R. purchased a condo unit from his mother in a downtown highrise on Bay St. known as Metropolitan Toronto Condominium Corporation 723. He requested a status certificate and was issued a “clean” certificate by the condo corp. The prior owner purchased the unit in 2004 and was also issued a “clean” certificate — one that did not disclose problems.

When Mr. R. decided to sell the unit in 2016, he obtained a new status certificate that stated that the unit was in breach of the condominium declaration.

Before Mr. R’s purchase, a second bedroom was added to the unit and the kitchen was relocated without the required consent of MTCC 723’s board of directors.

As a result, the new certificate warned that MTCC 723 might take steps to remove the alteration and restore it to its original layout, with the costs being added to the common expenses for the unit.

The Condominium Act says that a status certificate’s information is binding to the corporation, as of the date it is given.

On an application by Mr R., the judge ruled that MTCC 723 was bound by its earlier “clean” certificates and had to issue a new certificate without the notation about the unauthorized renovations.

MTCC 723 appealed the judge’s ruling, and a three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision earlier this year.

The Condominium Act, the Appeal Court wrote, “is, among other things, consumer-protection legislation. The purpose of a status certificate is obvious: it is to bring to the attention of a prospective purchaser or mortgagee matters which may be of concern to them when contemplating the purchase of a unit.”

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and frequent speaker to groups of home buyers and real estate agents. 
He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818.

More Canadians have become officially insolvent

There was an increase in the number of Canadians becoming officially insolvent in August.

Figures released this week by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show a 0.5% rise in consumer insolvencies in the 12 months to August 31, 2018, compared to the 12-months ended August 31, 2017.

Bankruptcies were down 6.4% but this was outpaced by a 7% rise in proposals.

The proportion of proposals in consumer insolvencies increased to 54.8% during the 12-month period ending August 31, 2018, up from 51.4% during the 12-month period ending August 31, 2017.


Where the increases were

The largest annual gain in insolvencies was in the Northwest Territories (60%) although that was a rise from 5 to 8 in total.

In Newfoundland and Labrador there was a 21.8% rise from 197 to 240, while Manitoba saw a 27.4% increase from 186 to 237; and Saskatchewan saw a rise from 270 to 304.

Among the provinces with larger numbers, BC decreased slightly from 836 to 824; Alberta saw a 5.6% rise from 1,168 to 1,233; and Ontario rose from 3,164 to 3,226, a 2% gain.

by Steve Randall

02 Nov 2018