Category "Economy"


Touring Maple Ridge builder’s 72-square-foot home | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub

A Maple Ridge builder has taken the concept of “tiny homes” to a new level with his house, that’s the size of a large walk-in closet. Kylie Stanton reports.

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Calgary, Alberta welcome Mphasis and quantum computing

by BBG Hub

Calgary will be getting hundreds more tech jobs with the arrival of tech company Mphasis.

The cloud and cognitive services provider based in Bangalore, India announced Wednesday that it would be building its Canadian headquarters in Calgary, bringing 500 to 1,000 jobs in the next two years.

The southern Alberta city will also become home to a quantum computing learning space as Mphasis partners with the University of Calgary to create the Quantum City centre of excellence.

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And Wednesday saw the announcement of Sparkle Calgary, a training facility focusing on AI and automation technology using the company’s proprietary platform.

Premier Jason Kenney said Wednesday’s announcements will help further the province’s goal of economic diversification.

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“The goal is to make Alberta a force to be reckoned with in quantum computing, machine learning and AI, economically but also intellectually,” he said.

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‘Emerge cautiously yet confidently’: Calgary Economic Development looks past COVID-19

“As the labour market shifts, workers will have the resources they need to adapt,” the premier said. “And as quantum computing, automation, and artificial intelligence mature, Alberta will become a destination of choice for investment capital and talent in those growing sectors.”

Mphasis CEO Nitin Rakesh called it “a great showcase of private-public partnership, a catalyst for tech transformation.”

Rakesh said the tech company is using similar models they’ve used in other countries, in both expansion and talent centres.

“Talent is a magnet for companies building talent at University of Calgary and here in Alberta. (It) strengthens both Mphasis and Alberta as a global technology hub, and a leader in IT, quantum computing, blockchain, FinTech, data, AI (and) in many other fields,” the MPhasis CEO said.

Rakesh said he looked forward to having the university as “an anchor for research” and development of Quantum City.

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International Energy Agency report states fossil fuel investment must end to reach climate goals

International Energy Agency report states fossil fuel investment must end to reach climate goals – May 18, 2021

“The aim is to double the fundamental research in quantum science and engineering and production of highly qualified graduates while simultaneously providing the industry facing opportunities for collaboration, company creation and technology development.”

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University of Calgary president Ed McCauley said the establishment of Quantum City shows the strength of the university as a “great research university,” akin to some leading universities in other cities.

“Today, Pittsburgh is a leading robotics hub, is a technology leader and medical cluster,” McCauley said. “That can happen here too, because as the technology and people cultivated by the quantum hub seep into Calgary, they will spin off even newer technology in new companies, until Calgary and Alberta aren’t only the energy capital.”

Rakesh added that Sparkle Calgary will try to pivot the core skills that exist in the market, pointing out the existing data expertise in the oil and gas sector.

“Can we take that ability to apply data knowledge, data scientists and reskill them — upskill them — towards computing platforms that are being used for consumer data? That’s the vision that we want to use with the Sparkle Calgary platform.”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Mphasis’ announcement reinforces the decision of the company to emphasize tech as a growth industry.

“It builds the platform here, and it builds the ecosystem here as Calgary continues to attract tech companies and others to this place, cementing our spot as a centre for innovation and digital technology in the world, as per our economic development strategy Calgary In The New Economy,” Nenshi said.

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The mayor added that the latest tech company announcing it plans to have its headquarters in Calgary is another signal for a demographically young city.

“It really is a signal, to young people in particular, that Calgary remains a place of great innovation, great entrepreneurship, a place where you want to make a living and a place where you want to make your life.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Here’s what you need to know about Canada’s new home retrofit program

by BBG Hub

The federal government on Thursday launched a new program allowing Canadians grants of up to $5,600 in energy-saving home upgrades and evaluations.

The program, called Canada Greener Homes Grants, will be worth $2.6 billion over the next seven years. Homeowners would be allowed to get up to $5,000 for energy-efficient retrofits to their main homes, as well as another $600 to help with home energy evaluations.

The grants, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan Thursday, comes as part of the Liberal government’s agenda to tackle climate change.

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“Canadians are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills and do their part to fight climate change,” said O’Regan in a press release Thursday. “The Canada Greener Homes Grant is good for your wallet, good for the economy, and good for the planet.”

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According to that statement, homeowners would be able to make improvements and upgrades including the replacement of windows and doors, sealing air leaks and adding insulation, as well as improving heating and cooling systems.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau announces $10M commitment to train new energy advisors for launch of Greener Homes Grant'

Trudeau announces $10M commitment to train new energy advisors for launch of Greener Homes Grant

Trudeau announces $10M commitment to train new energy advisors for launch of Greener Homes Grant – May 17, 2021

The grants also cover the purchasing of renewable energy systems, such as solar panels.

Here’s how Canadian homeowners can take full advantage of the program.

Who’s eligible?

Homeowners should first make sure they’re eligible for the program, having all the documents to prove homeownership on hand.

According to the federal government, only one homeowner per home would be able to register and would have to prove that the home is their “primary residence” through a government-issued ID or utility bill.

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Other groups, like local Indigenous governments and housing management bodies partnering with Indigenous organizations, are also eligible for the program, and are allowed to register multiple homes.

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Eligible property types for the program include:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Residential portions of mixed use buildings
  • Small multi-unit residential building, which must be three storeys or less and with a footprint no bigger than 600 m2.

If eligible, homeowners can now officially register for the program online or through a government phone number. Anyone registering for the program in Quebec and Nova Scotia need to apply directly through their province, while those in P.E.I. are encouraged to apply through theirs.

Applicants now need to make sure a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation gets completed — by an NRCan registered energy advisor — before and after they complete their retrofit upgrades. EnerGuide evaluations that were completed before December 1, 2020 will not be eligible for reimbursement.

Click to play video: 'City of Edmonton offering rebates to homeowners for energy efficiencies'

City of Edmonton offering rebates to homeowners for energy efficiencies

City of Edmonton offering rebates to homeowners for energy efficiencies – Jan 13, 2021

Earlier this week on Monday, O’Regan announced that the Liberal government was spending $10 million to recruit and train up to 2,000 people as energy advisors. According to the program, the evaluation would help homeowners choose which retrofits make the most sense for their home.

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Registrants can pick from several organizations who have these advisers, based on their location, to complete their pre- and post-evaluations — ending up with an EnerGuide home rating, label and a report with recommendations for home energy improvement.

Picking your retrofits

According to the program, retrofits recommended by your energy adviser are the only ones eligible for reimbursement and a list should be included in your pre-evaluation.

Before picking which retrofits you purchase and install, there are several things should know.

All retrofits must be purchased in Canada, and online purchases are only eligible if they are located in Canada.

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Certain types of retrofits can only be reimbursed to a certain amount as well, and there are some that can only be installed by licensed professionals.

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Heat pumps, water heaters, renewable energy — and furnaces and boilers in the case of homes located in Northern Canada — must be installed by those with a licence to do so, and can all be reimbursed at the maximum amount of $5,000.

Retrofits that are not mechanical or electrical and don’t need to be installed by licensed professionals include air sealing, insulation, windows and doors, thermostats and certain resiliency measures. All of these retrofits are eligible to be reimbursed at different values, with a full list available online here.

The program also warns to take your budget into consideration as well, and to make sure any contractors hired to install retrofits are fully licensed.

“As the homeowner, you are responsible for choosing products and materials and getting the necessary building and utility permits,” the program detailed.

“If a building permit is not required nor issued, you and your contractor are responsible for making sure all products, services and installations meet relevant building codes and standards.”

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Renewable energy: Inside Alberta’s wind and solar boom

Lastly, homeowners need to make sure they’re documenting all purchases and evaluations every step of the way. The program’s website said all invoices, receipts, proof of work and attestation forms need to be kept until March 31, 2028.

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After completing your retrofits, applicants can now book their post-retrofit evaluation, and apply for a reimbursement online with proof of their evaluations, retrofit receipts and installation costs.

According to mortgage and home value expert Alex McFadyen, home renovations are at an “all-time high” and people should be incentivized to do such improvements.

“Depending on what rebates someone uses, they could easily add that back into the prepayment of the mortgage or invest that into something that will pay them a greater return,” McFadyen said in an email.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New Alberta subscription service helps Indigenous entrepreneurs

by BBG Hub

An Edmonton woman is hoping to bring more awareness to Indigenous entrepreneurs through a new subscription box.

Mallory Yawnghwe, originally from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Northeastern Alberta, said she has attempted to help Indigenous entrepreneurs for most of her life. She was ecstatic this year when she was able to take the support further.

In March, Mallory launched the Indigenous Box, a subscription that celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurs. It can hold about seven items, and it highlights businesses all over Canada.

“When we did our incorporation and we got the documents back from the lawyers, and it said president and CEO, I was just in tears,” Yawnghwe said.

Yawnghwe said it was made possible after she won a pitch contest for startup companies.

Read more:
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“We actually just put up a countdown timer. It was a blank web page, with my emoji on there. Nobody knew what the countdown was for,” Yawgnhwe said.

“People were constantly viewing and we got more and more traffic everyday. We saw hundreds of people were visiting our website.”

Afterward, the launch orders poured in, and the boxes were quickly sold out. Yawnghwe said they made more available, and it sold out again.

All the boxes are packed by Yawnghwe and her family at their Edmonton home.

People have ordered boxes from every province and territory in Canada.

“We’re overwhelmed, but we have so much gratitude, too,” Yawnghwe said. “We didn’t do any marketing or take out any ads. It’s all word of mouth.

“I got it down to a very specific calculation of how things fit in the box, the weight of the box and how it’s all themed together. Our first box was with women and honing in on the self-care.”

Her family, meanwhile, doesn’t just help her pack.  Yawnghwe’s 13-year-old daughter, Kamryn Yawnghwe, is excited her handmade kokum scarf button earrings were part of the first edition box.

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“It’s exciting, because I used to sell them at craft sales, and mostly family and a few people in Edmonton were wearing my earrings, but now it’s across Canada,” Kamryn said.

Kamryn is also inspired to see her mom living her dream.

“I am proud of her. She has been waiting to start this business with my dad, and it’s good that she go the grant to start the business.”

Edmonton-based business Mother Earth Essential is also included in the first box. Carrie Armstrong has been making soaps, candles and other products for 15 years, and has soap products in hotels across the country.

“It’s so exciting. I’m proud of (Yawnghwe), and she has done such a good job of it,” Armstrong said.

“Someone was going to do it because it’s such a great idea. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but I think it happened with the perfect person, because she has done such a remarkable job.”

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Armstrong said when she first started her company, there weren’t many other Indigenous businesses. She hopes the box will lead to people learning more about Indigenous culture.

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“When I first started, it was 2006. Things have shifted a lot in Canada since I’ve started the business, as far as acceptance of Indigenous business,” Armstrong said.

“It’s that sharing of knowledge, and breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions that are out there.”

The summer Indigenous Box will soon be available, and it’s also expected to sell out. Yawnghwe has dreams of demand growing in leaps and bounds.

“To see just our cartoon image on the box means a lot for our communities, and our kids,” she said. “So to see people that look like them represented in mainstream contemporary ways.

“If we can help somebody find an Indigenous product, then we are just over the moon.”

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High school student project on Indigenous culture endorsed by one Alberta school division

High school student project on Indigenous culture endorsed by one Alberta school division

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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The Future of Work – Impacts of Automation

by BBG Hub

One in five Canadians are working in jobs at a high risk of becoming automated. Darren Gresch of the Conference Board of Canada explains what industries and regions are most at risk and how companies and workers can best respond.

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Consumers expect to return to pre-COVID-19 spending within a year: Bank of Canada – National

by BBG Hub

Canadian household spending will eclipse earnings in the coming months as vaccinations increase and uncertainty from the pandemic recedes, the Bank of Canada said in a report released Monday.

The central bank says the gap between spending and wage expectations has never been so wide in its quarterly survey of consumer expectations.

Officials at the bank suggest that gap is likely the result of households intending to spend some of the billions in savings built up during the pandemic, either because they cancelled purchases or had no place to spend the money due to restrictions on travel and dining out.

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As the survey says, respondents anticipated spending more than one-third of extra savings from the pandemic over the next two years, and one-tenth to pay down debt.

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The survey released Monday morning says consumers expect their spending patterns to return to normal in about one year, with post-vaccination increases on a wide range of goods, especially travel and social activities.

Overall, 75 per cent of respondents said they planned to get vaccinated, a further five per cent said they already had a first dose

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Bank of Canada puts money on consumer spending for pandemic recovery

Bank of Canada puts money on consumer spending for pandemic recovery – Oct 28, 2020

, and the remaining 20 per cent either were unsure or didn’t plan to get vaccinated.

The arrival of vaccines appears to have led to growing optimism, as more respondents expected a return to pre-pandemic life than in previous surveys over the past year.

Still, consumers expect the economic recovery from COVID-19 to be slow and the threat of the virus to diminish no earlier than in the second half of the year.

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Workers said they didn’t expect a return to a normal work schedule for another eight months, which is three months later than responses from the last iteration of the survey in the fourth quarter of 2020.

There was a split, though, in how people viewed the coming months as women and lower-income households expect a slower recovery than men and households with higher income, which the bank said could reflect the uneven impact the pandemic has had in the economy.

There was also a split in the outlook for businesses.

Many high-contact services that remain the most affected by public health restrictions like tourism and pockets of the retail sector don’t expect to see sales return to pre-pandemic levels in the next 12 months.

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Meanwhile, those selling goods most wanted by consumers working from or furnishing their homes _ construction services, appliance sellers – and business service providers are all seeing stronger demand. Many plan to invest in productivity-boosting technology such as automating tasks or consumer-facing digital platforms to meet rising demand, or software and servers to tap into distant pools of remote workers.

Overall, the bank says many firms see the impacts of the pandemic on their activities to be behind them, and many don’t seem preoccupied with pandemic-related uncertainty.

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And that means they expect to raise prices faster than they have over the last 12 months owing to rising demand and a desire to rebuild margins.

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Expert weights in on Canadians spending big throughout COVID-19 pandemic on self-care

Expert weights in on Canadians spending big throughout COVID-19 pandemic on self-care – Mar 31, 2021

Over half of the approximately 100 firms surveyed by the bank between mid-February and early March – roughly the same time period as the consumer survey – expect inflation to be above the central bank’s two-per-cent target over the next two years, pointing to strong consumer demand along with a promise of low interest rates from the central bank and up to $100 billion in stimulus from the federal government.

For consumers, respondents in that survey told the bank they expect inflation to stay close to or just above the central bank’s target.

Consumers believe that inflation has hovered around two per cent over the last year, even as official measures point to far more muted price increases. Annual inflation in February hit 1.1 per cent, marking a pandemic-era high.

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Statistics Canada’s consumer price index has been affected over the last 12 months as consumers spent more on items that don’t weigh as much in the calculation, and less on things that weigh more in the index.

In a numbers experiment aided by the Bank of Canada, the statistics office reported Monday that annual inflation would have been roughly four-tenths of a percentage point higher in each of the last six months when adjusting for changing spending habits.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Here’s how home prices compare to incomes across Canada

by BBG Hub

There’s a simple yardstick in personal finance about purchasing a home: buyers should aim for a property priced at four times their income or less. But average Canadians’ ability to stick to that simple rule is rapidly fading across much of the country as property values continue to soar.

In the pandemic-linked housing boom, average residential property values have become decoupled from average incomes over vast swathes of the country.

Here’s a look at average incomes relative to average home prices across markets over the last 40 years.

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National statistics show the average national home price is now more than seven times the average household income, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association and Statistics Canada.

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The average home price isn’t a perfect measure of what homebuyers are facing in the real world, as the metric can be swayed by variations in types of homes sold in a given period. Still, the numbers provide a stark picture of how rapidly affordability is eroding.

For more than a decade, home prices growing much faster than incomes was an issue largely limited to Vancouver and Toronto, two of the country’s priciest and most active real estate markets.

Click to play video: 'Navigating Canada’s hot real estate market'

Navigating Canada’s hot real estate market

Navigating Canada’s hot real estate market

In Greater Vancouver, the average price of a home was close to 12 times the average local income in 2016, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and Statistics Canada.

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That ratio came down a couple of notches following the implementation of provincial and federal measures aimed at cooling the housing market between the second half of 2016 and 2018. But amid the pandemic real estate frenzy, it has been growing again, the numbers show.

In Toronto, the average home price was hovering around eight times the average local household income pre-pandemic. Now, it has reached 10 times the average Torontonian income.

But the current housing extravaganza is dramatically widening the gap between home prices and incomes in a number of markets across Canada, the data shows.

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In Ottawa and Montreal, for example, the average home price is now around six times local household incomes.


In Moncton, N.B., homes are still relatively affordable, but the recent jump in home prices is remarkable. In 2019, the average local home price was an eminently reasonable 2.5 times the average household provincial income. Now, an average-priced home is worth 3.5 times the average income.

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The jump has been more pronounced in some of Canada’s smaller communities. In February, BMO economist Sal Guatieri noted that in Woodstock, Ont., the benchmark home price had risen “a cool” $118,200 over the previous 12 months, more than the $86,970 the median local family earned in 2018.

“We’re in a very unusual period now,” Guatieri told Global News. “You make more money sleeping in your home than working in it.”

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Even in Alberta, where the housing market has been dormant for years, activity is heating up. This year, Calgary saw its best March in terms of sales volumes since 2007.

The benchmark home price, at $441,900, was more than six per cent higher than last year’s levels, although property values remain below their 2014 highs, the Calgary Real Estate Board said.

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Comparing home prices to incomes isn’t the only way to gauge affordability. Another important aspect of it is the relative size of mortgage payments. What percentage of their monthly income do homeowners with average earnings have to spend on their mortgage for an average-priced home?

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In the 1980s, for example, homeowners were easily spending a whopping 50 per cent of their incomes on mortgage payments due to double-digit mortgage rates, notes Diana Petramala, senior economist at the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development at Ryerson University.

In 2020, thanks to the pandemic-driven drop in interest rates, the ratio between mortgage payments and incomes dropped to the lowest it had been since 2014, she adds.

“In large part, the frenzy we’re seeing in buying can be explained by low interest rates,” she says.

Now, though, prices have risen so much they’ve eroded the affordability gains from extra-cheap borrowing, she adds.

And for recent homebuyers, the question is what happens as interest rates rise from record lows.

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“Households are more sensitive than they ever have been in the past to even small increases in interest rates,” Petramala says.

The question, Petramala says, is what will happen when many homeowners who bought in the current boom renew their mortgages five years from now.

“Even if households are paying down their equity over the next five years, if interest rates were to (climb) by one to two percentage points in (over that period), when it comes time to renew, many households who are buying now will ultimately see their mortgage payments increase,” she adds.

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Andif families are house poor … that’s money that they’re not spending on restaurants and vacations and in stores,” says Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy and innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute.

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What’s driving Toronto’s hot housing market? A real estate expert breaks it down

What’s driving Toronto’s hot housing market? A real estate expert breaks it down – Mar 9, 2021

“What happens in the housing market matters and can easily spill over to the broader economy,” he adds.

The mortgage stress test, which Ottawa rolled out in two phases in 2017 and 2018, helps reduce the risk of higher borrowing costs. The test means federally regulated lenders must vet buyers’ finances to ensure they’d still be able to make mortgage payments with a higher interest rate.

But even stress-tested homeowners might feel the pinch from higher borrowing costs, Petramala says. And not all recent homebuyers had to go through the stress test, which isn’t mandatory for all lenders, Petramala notes.

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What’s next for home prices?

The dizzying pace of home price growth in the past several months isquite unusual and it’s certainly unsustainable in the long run,” says Guatieri.

At some point, he adds, something will have to give. Likely, home prices will flatten out for possibly several years, allowing incomes to gradually make up some of the ground lost.

But if the current breakneck appreciation continues, “then we’re going to get into a situation where it’s almost a necessity that house prices actually fall to restore order and balance in the housing market,” Guatieri says.

The risk of a housing bust is higher in some of the smaller communities that have seen steep price appreciation, Moffatt says.

In the larger urban centres, even if home prices were to fall, they would eventually bounce back thanks to fresh housing demand stemming from population growth, Moffatt says. But in smaller towns that have seen property values climb without sustained population growth, “you could have a house price crash and never see that demand come back,” he says.

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And that’s going to be very problematic for people who bought at the top … and never see those home prices go back up again,” he says.

Charts methodology: The charts show the ratio of average home prices to average incomes. Average home prices do not take into account variations in the types of homes being sold. For incomes, we used the total before tax average income for economic families and persons not in an economic family. For the years 2020 and 2021, we assumed income growth based on the average pace of income growth between 2016 and 2019. Both home prices and income data are in 2019 dollars. 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Future of Work 2021 – BC

by BBG Hub

Global News & 980 CKNW Future of Work Series in partnership with FortisBC is an in-depth collection of interviews and stories to help you navigate new opportunities within BC’s ever-evolving job market.

From April 12 to 23 on Global News Morning we will be looking at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on workplaces and what the long-term effects could be after the pandemic.

We take a look at how a variety of sectors are transforming in everything from work-life balance to diversity and inclusion.

Join us starting April 12 and see what the future of work may hold in store for you.

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Listen to the Future of Work series on CKNW.

WATCH: SFU professor Terri Griffith explains the impact more than a year of employees working from home may have on business and office culture long term.

Click to play video: 'The Future of Work: Work from home and remote working'

The Future of Work: Work from home and remote working

The Future of Work: Work from home and remote working

WATCH: One in five Canadians are working in jobs at a high risk of becoming automated. Darren Gresch of the Conference Board of Canada explains what industries and regions are most at risk and how companies and workers can best respond.

Click to play video: 'The Future of Work – Impacts of Automation'

The Future of Work – Impacts of Automation

The Future of Work – Impacts of Automation

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Province invests $2 million in Beamsville hand hygiene production facility – Hamilton

by BBG Hub

The Ontario government is investing $2 million in the local production of soap and sanitizer dispensers.

The province says the funding will help OPHARDT Hygiene Technologies expand its facility in Beamsville as it increases production to 300,000 dispensers and one million dispenser drive modules per year.

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OPHARDT is investing $7 million in the expansion, which includes purchasing molding, automation and bottle-making equipment, and is expected to create 75 new jobs and retain 96 others.

Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, says it’s another example of “made-in-Ontario solutions” in the fight against COVID-19.

The dispensers are destined for high-traffic areas, including airports, shopping malls and medical facilities.

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Ken Friesen, general manager of OPHARDT Hygiene Canada, says the company is “pleased to be playing an important role in keeping Ontarians healthy” during the pandemic.

The government funding is through the Ontario Together Fund, which is geared towards targeted investments that increase the province’s stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and personal protective equipment.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada’s top jobs with the fastest-growing demand in 2021: Randstad – National

by BBG Hub

After months of gradual gains, Canada’s labour market is in a funk again.

Statistics show the economy shed 63,000 positions in December, and many analysts expect the trend to continue as governments tighten COVID-19 restrictions amid rising case counts.

But while the new round of lockdowns is once again disproportionately hitting the same service-sector industries that saw the steepest job losses in March and April, a new report by Randstad, one of the world’s largest HR firms, shows the pandemic is also creating new roles in other corners of the economy.

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The positions that are seeing the fastest-growing demand from employers reflect how companies are adapting to the new reality, says Carolyn Levy of Randstad Canada. And many of those trends are likely to survive the pandemic, she adds.

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Here are the big shifts afoot in the Canadian labour market and the top jobs associated with them, according to Randstad’s 2021 jobs forecast:

Shift to online sales — customer service representatives, delivery drivers, IT and support desk specialists, procurement and supply chain specialists, warehouse workers

With companies now forced to attend to customers and clients remotely, many are finding they need to hire more customer service representatives, Levy says. Seniors, in particular, have been more likely to struggle with the shift to online purchases, highlighting the need for support from customer service pros, she adds.

Delivery drivers, unsurprisingly, also feature prominently in Randstad’s list. But while delivery jobs have been in high demand for the past few years in Canada, it’s the need for short-distance deliveries within cities that has driven growth in the pandemic, Levy says.

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IT workers have been helping companies create or upgrade their online store, while supply chain specialists have been helping them rejig for an online-only business model, according to Levy. And with more goods now shipped directly from warehouses to customers’ homes, the need for warehouse workers has also increased.

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Many women not seeking to re-enter the workforce, expert says

Many women not seeking to re-enter the workforce, expert says – Dec 30, 2020

Shift to work-from-home — administrative assistants, IT specialists, security analysts and architects

Many businesses were moving away from traditional administrative assistant roles before the pandemic, Levy says. Companies figured they could do without receptionists, for example, and automating processes like checking in customers.

But with the shift to remote work, many firms are finding they need someone in charge of managing logistics, keeping track of schedules, and, say, corralling large numbers of people into a Zoom meeting, Levy says.

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The work-from-home revolution has also put a strain on companies’ IT departments, prompting many to hire some extra help, according to Levy.

“Everybody (is) moving to the cloud … so you’re able to access your data from anywhere,” she says.

But as more sensitive company data migrates online, employers are also beefing up the ranks of cybersecurity specialists that can ensure the information is protected from hackers and other digital threats, Levy says.

Click to play video 'Advocates, workers call for better paid sick leave benefits'

Advocates, workers call for better paid sick leave benefits

Advocates, workers call for better paid sick leave benefits

Extraordinary demand on essential retail services — essential retail workers, procurement and supply chain specialists, cleaners and maintenance workers, warehouse workers

For grocery stores and other essential retailers, the challenge has been to keep the shelves stocked in the face of unprecedented demand and unusual shopping patterns, like the toilet paper shortage and baking mania of the first months of the pandemic.

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And the need for essential retail workers and supply chain specialists persists in the second wave, Levy says.

Essential businesses are also having to hire extra cleaning staff to make sure they abide by health care directives and warehouse staff to keep goods moving.

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Extraordinary demand on the healthcare system — registered nurses

The demand for registered nurses comes from across the health care sector, whether it’s hospitals, long-term care homes or vaccine clinics, Levy says.

Across the whole system demand is “through the roof,” she says.

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‘Tired and broken’: ICU nurse reflects on pandemic toll

‘Tired and broken’: ICU nurse reflects on pandemic toll

Job seekers may find opportunity in unexpected places

A silver lining of the pandemic economy is that many of the workers displaced by the COVID-19 restrictions may well qualify for the jobs the health crisis is creating, Levy says.

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For example, travel booking agents, flight attendants and hotel workers likely have the right skills for customer representative or essential retail jobs, she says.

Job seekers should keep an open mind and look for opportunities that aren’t necessarily in their industry, she says.

“Don’t wait for things to return back to normal,” she says. “We’re going to have a new normal.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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