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Alberta has the highest mortgage deferral rates in Canada –



Around one-in-five mortgages in Alberta remains in deferral, the highest rate of any province in the country, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

CMHC president and CEO Evan Siddall said in a tweet on Tuesday that as of July, 21 per cent of mortgages in Alberta were deferred.

The next highest deferral rates were in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, tied at 14.8 per cent. 

“Deferrals in oil-producing regions are evidently elevated,” he wrote.

Quebec had the lowest rate at 5.6 per cent.

Siddall said around 11 per cent of all homeowner transactional insured mortgages are in deferral across the country, and that factors like unemployment rates and government supports will play a role in deferrals and house prices going forward.

Low oil prices had already hit Alberta’s economy hard before the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Conference Board of Canada forecasts Alberta will see its economy shrink by a historic seven per cent this year.

Justin Havre with RE/MAX says the Alberta deferral numbers don’t come as much of a surprise.

“I think Albertans have gone through some tough times,” said Havre.

“We typically don’t have the opportunity to defer mortgage payments when there is a collapse in energy payments and when the opportunity was available to get mortgages deferred here in Alberta, I think a lot of people took the opportunity to preserve their cash because nobody really knew with this pandemic how long it would go on and what was going to come of it.”

Havre said he would encourage anyone having trouble making payments to be proactive, and speak with their bank and insurer. 

“Don’t wait — take action now to find a solution, and if the solution has to be that you put your house up on the market, then you may want to start acting on that now while we have the activity in the marketplace, because our market typically does slow down when snow hits the ground.”

In May, Siddall had warned a House of Commons committee that the country could see a “deferral cliff” when some unemployed people are required to begin paying their mortgages again this fall.

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Coronavirus numbers are surging in Canada. But who’s getting sick and why? – Global News



As Canada grapples with rising novel coronavirus numbers, experts say mounting evidence points to young people as the driving force behind the spike in cases.

The data doesn’t lie. The latest available data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showed 56.6 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus were younger than 50 years old.

People aged 20-29 accounted for “the largest proportion of cases,” the agency said in its weekly epidemiology report.

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“Incidence rates in those 20 to 39 years of age remain consistently higher compared to all other age groups.”

The agency wrote this could be due to having to return to work, where that age bracket makes up a majority of the service industry, as well as reduced social distancing among young people or general “fatigue with physical distancing and other public health measures.”

“This is not a surprise,” said Colin Furness, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto. “That’s the group that has suffered socially the most in a lot of ways.”

Read more:
What about the next pandemic? Coronavirus offers lessons for the future

Furness said he’d noticed trends among servers, but that young people may have also become complacent to COVID-19 measures in trying to “make the most” of the end of their summers.

With restaurants, bars, smaller workplaces, universities and other schools reopened, there is more opportunity for youth to get sick, he said. But when it comes to returning to work, for businesses able to work remotely Furness said “it’s better to stay put.”

While the PHAC noted most confirmed diagnoses reported in schools and daycares were individual cases, rather than examples of community transmission, the agency said confirmed infections have been increasing since August.

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Coronavirus: Ford calls on all Ontarians to get flu shot as province prepares for COVID-19 second wave

Coronavirus: Ford calls on all Ontarians to get flu shot as province prepares for COVID-19 second wave

Furness said going back to school was “very important” for children’s mental health, and would be economically beneficial for parents — “predominantly women who then get excluded from their jobs.”

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From an infection control standpoint, Furness said it was more likely that schools were going to reflect how the pandemic had been affecting each school’s community.

He also said some provinces should have either chosen to reopen bars or schools — but not both.

“We can do a lot,” he said. “We just can’t do it all at the same time.”

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“It’s risky to open schools, so we should be doing something to compensate for that.”

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Cynthia Carr, a Winnipeg-based epidemiologist with EPI Research Inc., said it was inevitable that — even in Canada, where community spread is under control in most provinces — returning to school would at least in some part drive up COVID-19 cases.

“Once you put people together in a room for a long period of time, there’s opportunity for infection to spread,” she said.

Carr said the surging numbers may look daunting, but are actually on par with Health Canada’s projections, which estimated the country would see a fall peak in September.

This is important, she said, as according to Health Canada, the country should expect to see a rise in diagnoses, but low rates of hospitalizations or deaths due to the age demographic making up the majority of people getting sick.

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The challenge, said Carr, is what she called an “epidemiological lag.”

“In a week or two, will we see an increase in outcomes such as hospitalizations and deaths? That’s what we want to avoid, because this increase in cases (can lead) to infection within our vulnerable residents,” she said.

Experts warned Canadians may not have seen the end of surging cases.

Quebec headed toward second coronavirus wave as cases soar

Quebec headed toward second coronavirus wave as cases soar

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Tuesday it would be difficult for him to declare whether or not the country was in the midst of its second wave of the virus.

“Canada is a big country. All regions are different,” he said, adding that officials have confirmed a second wave in Ottawa.

Dr. Andrew Morris, infectious disease physician at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said the influx in cases the country was seeing now “will probably go on steroids in the next couple of weeks — unless something is drastically done.”

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“We will see increasing and accelerated growth over the next couple of weeks despite any measures that the government may do over the next week,” he said, identifying initial provincial challenges with testing, contact tracing and isolating patients as factors leading up to rising numbers.

Read more:
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On whether the country was prepared for a second wave, Morris said: “Not a chance.”

In order to successfully navigate through a second wave, Morris said federal and provincial governments were going to need to step up their testing, open more COVID-19 assessment centres and stock up on ventilators and personal protective equipment.

“Without a proper surveillance and screening strategy, it makes it very difficult for us to properly use our testing capacities,” he said.

“If you don’t have one of the fundamental aspects which is testing and that is both collecting the tests, assessment centre abilities and lab capacity… then you’re in trouble,” he said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'BlueLeaks' data breach involved 38 Canadian police forces –



Confidential law enforcement data belonging to 38 Canadian police agencies has been exposed by a group of so-called hacktivists targeting police in the U.S., Radio-Canada has learned.

The group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) published thousands of documents amounting to 269 gigabytes online in June. Members of the group say the documents were obtained from members of the hacker collective Anonymous. 

The leak came from cyberattacks on American police agencies or their suppliers. Information from police services across the U.S., including emails, training notes and expense reports, was published online.

The RCMP has confirmed it was one of the agencies affected by the leak. In a statement, the RCMP said the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit (NC3) and RCMP cyber intelligence led an investigation to determine the effect of the leak on various RCMP jurisdictions and other Canadian police agencies.

‘No secret information,’ RCMP says

The leaked information involving Canadian law enforcement did not have a major impact on sensitive operations and was generally related to “training, administration and unclassified material which is non-sensitive in nature,” the RCMP said in a statement. 

“We found that there was no secret information that was disclosed,” said Insp. Daniel Côté, the officer in charge of NC3. “All the information that was online was administrative in nature.”

The RCMP declined to identify the other Canadian police agencies involved, “for privacy and operational reasons.”

But Steve Waterhouse, a cybersecurity expert and former cybersecurity officer for the Department of National Defence, argued even administrative data can be damaging if it gets into the wrong hands. 

“It could be emails or phone numbers of police officers in that stash of information, and they can sell it or use it to physically harm or harass police officers’ families,” Waterhouse said.

Privacy commissioner notified 3 months later

The RCMP said it takes any privacy breach seriously and that past and current employees involved in the breach are being notified.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received a report from the RCMP about the leak on Sept. 18, almost three months after it occurred.

In a statement, the office said it is reviewing the report and said the incident raises serious concerns, “given the sensitivity of the information involved.”

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Canadians' grocery bills are increasing; pandemic to accelerate the trend: report – CTV News



Canadians who have suspected their grocery bills have been rising over the years aren’t imagining it, according to a new report that found the price of food has been steadily increasing in the last decade – and the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating this trend.

According to the report, which was released on Tuesday by Dalhousie University’s Agri-food Analytics Lab, the price of a typical grocery basket has increased by approximately 240 per cent since 2000.

While it’s expected the price of food will go up because of inflation, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor and senior director of the lab, said his team wanted to see how the food price index compared with the general inflation index or Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past 20 years.

“The point of the report is to show that really over the last 10 years, at least, the food inflation rate has outpaced the general inflation rate,” he explained during a telephone interview with on Tuesday.

The report found that the overall cost of other products and services in the economy didn’t increase as much as food did during this time period.

Charlebois said the rising cost of food is actually the result of the agri-food industry playing “catch up” after a generation of discounted products.

“North America has been the realm of discounted food for quite some time. We are just coming out of an era in which we have been bent on buying the cheapest food products,” the report stated. “But things are different now.”

The researchers said consumers have more choice than ever now and because of that, they expect more innovation and quality when it comes to their food.

“There is certainly a price to pay for that. As a result, the industry has been catching up to our expectations by managing higher costs and passing some of the increases onto us,” the report said.

Charlebois said he expects the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the pace of these food price increases because operation costs have gone up during the health emergency.

“We actually are expecting the average household in Canada to spend not just 9.1 per cent of their budget, but maybe 10.5, perhaps even 11 per cent,” he said.


While the report found that every province and territory have had their consumer price indices outstripped by the food price index, some regions have seen more of a disparity than others.

Charlebois said households in Eastern Canada have had to spend more of their budgets on food than in other areas due to a lack of regionally based food processing and the higher logistical costs of serving some remote markets.

New Brunswick saw the biggest gap between the food price index and the general price index at 25.8 points, followed by Quebec (23.1 per cent), and Nova Scotia (21.3 per cent).

“It is especially in the last decade that the gap between the two indices has widened,” the report said.

To avoid food insecurity from the rising costs, Charlebois said he would like to see governments invest in controlled environment agriculture, greenhouses to produce food all year round, and increases in the processing capacity in the most affected regions.


While the rising cost of food may be unwelcome news for most Canadians, Charlebois said there are still several food items that appear to be impervious to the increases.

According to Statistics Canada, white sugar is almost the same price as it was 20 years ago in 2000 at $2.40 per two kilograms.

“Although there are only three sugar producers in Canada that control the market, Redpath, Lantic and Rogers in the West, the price of sugar has barely changed in the last two decades,” the report said.

Flour, too, has also remained fairly cheap, Charlebois said, with only a 38 per cent increase over the past two decades.

There has been even less of an increase in price for peanut butter over the years, according to Charlebois. He said peanut butter is only 5 per cent more expensive now than it was in 2000.

“I think it has a lot to do with competition,” he said. “The fact that there are a lot more brands and it’s been a little bit more competitive.” 

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