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Boxing Day was once what Black Friday is now –



For some Canadians, Boxing Day is the time to go shopping and take advantage of post-Christmas discounts from retailers. 

As reported in November, it has more recently been pushed aside by Black Friday, a day of deals that is the traditional start of shopping season for Americans. It spread to Canada around 2005, according to reports in the CBC archives.

Back in 1984, though, the day to look for deep discounts was Dec. 26. And stores in some Canadian provinces risked a penalty by opening on the statutory holiday.

“In provinces like Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario, Boxing Day sales are against the law,” said Knowlton Nash, host of CBC’s The National, that day in 1984.

Not much of a deterrent

In Montreal and in Edmonton, shoppers were out in force on Boxing Day. (The National/CBC Archives)

The potential rewards for retailers on Boxing Day were just too great to keep them from obeying the law.

“What this store is doing is illegal,” said reporter Vicki Russell, as the camera captured images of a long queue of people outside a leather-goods store on Toronto’s Yonge Street. “And under Ontario law, it could be fined up to $10,000.”

Manager Al Vancardo was unfazed by the threat.

“We feel if people want to come down, they can come down,” he said. “We don’t care about the laws.”

The store was among “a few dozen” that defied the law, allowing customers in to try, and with any luck, buy their stock of men’s leather jackets at up to 70 per cent off.

Too much business to be timid

Bay Bloor Radio, a stereo store, was open on Boxing Day for the first time in 39 years of business.

“I believe that my staff was being discriminated against,” said owner Sol Mandlsohn, whose store was buzzing with audiophiles. 

He had remained closed on Boxing Day the year before and paid the price by being closed when others were open. 

By opening, he told the Toronto Star, he was hoping to “test the law and see if it is valid.” 

“I think it’s all right. He should be open,” said shopper Ennio Sartori. “I have to work tomorrow so I can’t make it here. Today I took advantage and I came over.”

Was the law ‘useless’?

Russell reported that police had said they would investigate any store that was open on Boxing Day. They had done the same for Boxing Day 1983 and issued warnings, but laid no charges.

According to the Toronto Star, the prohibition against Boxing Day shopping had come into force in 1975. But the day after this report aired, it reported that Ontario’s solicitor general was considering a repeal.

“You never like to see a law so violated that the law is useless,” said George Taylor.  

The following year, the Toronto Star reported that 154 stores had been charged with Boxing Day violations.

But according to TVO, it wasn’t until 1996 that the province amended the Retail Business Holidays Act to drop Boxing Day.

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RBC warns house price correction could be deepest in decades | CTV News – CTV News Toronto



A housing correction, which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market, could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.

New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.

Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.

In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.

Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.

That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.

“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”

The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.

In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.

“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”

While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”

The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.

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Commuters face GO transit cancellations, possible strike – CityNews



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Canada Revenue Agency plans email blitz to get Canadians to cash outstanding cheques worth $1.4-billion – The Globe and Mail



The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is planning a massive e-mail notification campaign to reach Canadians across the country who have uncashed cheques worth a net $1.4-billion.

The e-mail notifications will target recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial and territorial programs, as well as recipients of the GST/HST credits and the Alberta Energy Tax Refund.

The CRA said it plans to send approximately 25,000 e-mails in August, another 25,000 in November and a further 25,000 e-mails by May, 2023.

However, even without receiving an e-mail notification, the agency said a taxpayer can check if they have a cheque by logging into My Account, a secure portal on its website to check if they have an uncashed cheque over a period of six months. It added that representatives can also view uncashed cheques of their clients.

Each year, the CRA said it issues millions of payments to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits. These payments are issued by either direct deposit or by cheque.

“Over time, payments can remain uncashed for various reasons, such as the taxpayer misplacing the cheque or even a change of address which did not allow for delivery,” the agency said in a statement.

The CRA said since the e-mail notification initiative was first launched in February, 2020, about two million uncashed cheques valued at $802-million were redeemed by May 31, 2022.

The average amount per uncashed cheque is $158 with some of them dating as far back as 1998, the agency said.

As of May, 2022, there were an estimated 8.9 million uncashed cheques with the CRA. In May, 2019, about five million Canadians had an estimated 7.6 million uncashed cheques.

“As government cheques never expire or stale date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and re-issue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer,” the statement read. “These upcoming e-notifications are to encourage taxpayers to cash any cheques they have in their possession.”

The agency said taxpayers can register for the direct deposit option on its website to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.

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