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Suburban real estate vulnerable if demand shifts post-pandemic, Bank of Canada warns – CBC News

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The gap between downtown real estate and houses in the suburbs narrowed significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, a development that may make markets outside big cities even more vulnerable to a slowdown.

That’s one of the main takeaways from a recently released analysis by the Bank of Canada that looked at housing valuations in 15 cities across the country, both before the pandemic and now.

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Historically, real estate in downtown cores tends to be more expensive because people want to live close to city services and amenities, and more vibrant job markets. “But this pattern may have shifted during the COVID‑19 pandemic,” Louis Morel, a policy adviser at the central bank, said in an analytical note released Monday.

The cost and inconvenience of commuting is typically a downside to suburban living, but the mass movement toward working from home during the pandemic flipped that old adage on its head, as downtown dwellers flocked en masse to the suburbs for more space.

Morel notes that many of the services that downtown residents enjoy about life in cities, such as concerts, restaurants and live entertainment, were shut down in one form or another.

“Between working or studying from home and the public health restrictions, people were spending more time at home than ever before,” he said. “A desire for more living space may have encouraged many Canadians to seek properties in the suburbs, where lots and houses are typically larger and more affordable.”

House prices took off just about everywhere during the pandemic, but the gains were especially big in the suburbs, which has made them less affordable today than they’ve ever been.

WATCH | How some suburbs are dealing with urban sprawl: 

Ontario’s Peel Region grapples with urban sprawl

1 month ago

Duration 4:31

In Peel Region, west of Toronto, officials have adopted a plan to expand urban development to accommodate a growing population, putting them at odds with advocates who argue for the need to conserve green spaces.

In 2016, a house in the suburbs 50 kilometres outside of downtown would typically be worth about 33 per cent less than a similar home in the city. Even in 2019, before the pandemic, that gap had narrowed to 26 per cent, but by the bank’s calculations, the average cost benefit had shrunk to just 10 per cent last year.

Randall Bartlett, an economist with Desjardins, described the phenomenon causing suburban house prices to boom succinctly: “Drive until you qualify.”

“The increase in remote work during the pandemic encouraged migration within and across provinces in a way which was unprecedented in history,” Bartlett said in a separate report last week. “Where families once left city centres in the pursuit of more space once kids came along, they could now move much further afield, including to rural communities and provinces with better affordability”


But that trend may already be starting to change, as many workplaces that had previously embraced working from home have returned to a hybrid working model that will see most staff return to the office at least part of the time.

The trend is already showing up in the housing market, as suburban markets that saw outsized gains during the pandemic are now seeing price declines, even as major city centres are mostly holding steady.

“It’s difficult to envision the housing markets of some smaller communities maintaining their unprecedented pandemic price gains as people return to in-person work on a more regular basis,” Bartlett said.

He says areas outside of Toronto, some of which saw average prices double during the pandemic, are most vulnerable to a slowdown.

“As we look ahead to how the national housing market correction will play out at the provincial level, in some ways it’s expected to be the inverse of what we saw during the pandemic.”

While the Bank of Canada stops short of speculating on the cause or making any predictions, it does warn that the narrowing price gap between the suburbs and downtowns could become a problem if preferences shift back toward how things used to be.

“If this preference shift is temporary, the proximity premium could return partly toward its pre-pandemic level,” the bank said.

“Such a shift in relative prices could be especially problematic if housing supply in more suburban areas were to respond strongly in anticipation of local demand continuing to increase.”

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More Charges Dropped Just Days Before Trial Against Activists Who Exposed Animal Cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm

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ABBOTSFORD, BC – Several criminal charges were dropped by the Crown yesterday against three animal rights activists just days before their four-week trial is set to begin on Monday, June 27. Amy Soranno, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer are accused of exposing animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, BC in 2019, and still face a combined total of 14 indictable charges of Break and enter and Criminal Mischief. A press conference will be held in front of the BC Supreme Court in Abbotsford on the first day of trial.The Crown gave no explanation when it dropped some of the remaining charges yesterday against the three activists. The Crown similarly dropped all charges last month, without explanation, against a fourth activist, Geoff Regier, after his lawyers argued in a pretrial hearing that police and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) had engaged in misconduct.Soranno, Sasano, and Schafer, who together with Regier are calling themselves the Excelsior 4. The three activists could each be sentenced to years in prison if convicted.

What: Press conference & start of four-week trial for the Excelsior 4When: Monday, June 27, press conference at 9am, trial at 10amWhere: BC Supreme Court, 32375 Veterans Way, Abbotsford, BC

“The Excelsior 4 case started three years ago with a total of 21 charges hanging over us,” said Amy Soranno, one of the Excelsior 4 defendants going to trial on Monday. “But before the jury has even been selected, the Crown has dropped all charges against one of us and reduced the number of charges against the rest of us.”Until last month, Regier had faced similar charges for his role in blowing the whistle on Excelsior. In July 2019, Regier made contact with the BCSPCA—the only animal abuse enforcement agency in BC—and provided the private charity with video evidence of criminal animal cruelty at the hog farm. However, instead of recommending charges against Excelsior, the BCSPCA violated its own confidentiality policy in order to turn Regier over to police. The trial comes more than three years after the exposure of animal cruelty at Excelsior, yet the hog farm has never had to answer for the video footage clearly depicting animal abuse. A short video was recently published about the Excelsior 4 case, with an incisive look at how industry has avoided accountability, how the police mishandled evidence, and how the Crown is criminalizing activists. View the 7-minute video here: https://youtu.be/FJGAI02SWzw. “The fact that we still face prison time while Excelsior Hog Farm is free to continue its abusive practices is a mockery of justice,” said Soranno. “This case further illustrates the clear bias against animals and activists by the animal agriculture industry, BCSPCA, and police. Our trial will shine a light on the criminal animal abuse taking place at Excelsior, and the failure to hold them and other animal farms accountable.” The trial also comes more than a year after a Freedom of Information disclosure revealed that the BCSPCA has no capacity to enforce anti-cruelty laws at animal farms in BC. Activists point to the abuse carried out at Excelsior as just one example of the BCSPCA’s failure to take enforcement action despite ample evidence of criminal animal cruelty. “BC needs an enforcement agency that is accountable to the public, not a private charity that is unfit for the role and only answerable to its board of directors,” said Soranno. In addition to demanding that the hog farm be held accountable, the Excelsior 4 and animal rights activists across the province are calling on BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham to replace the private charity BCSPCA with a more accountable government agency to enforce against animal cruelty in BC. In the interest of transparency and accountability, activists are also demanding the installation of Closed-Circuit TV cameras at all animal agriculture facilities in BC. “With no national regulations governing animal welfare on farms and virtually no government oversight on farms, one of the only ways abuse and mistreatment of farmed animals comes to light is through whistleblower and hidden camera exposés,” said Animal Justice in a recent statement. “Preventing journalists and animal advocates from exposing animal abuse restricts freedom of expression, one of the most important human rights in Canada.” For more information about the Excelsior 4, the story behind their charges, and how to take action against animal cruelty: www.excelsior4.org/.
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Is The Canadian Online Gambling Industry Regulated?

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Like in many western countries, gambling is a popular pastime for many Canadians. Throughout Canada’s evolution, it has strived to give its citizens the freedom of gambling across the provinces. Thanks to this, casinos in the country have grown and thrived over the years, from land-based casinos to the more modern online gambling sites.

Interestingly, government-sponsored sites have also joined the online trend. While other nations globally move from one extreme to the other in terms of their stand on gambling, Canadian lawmakers have generally used an even-handed approach despite the attraction of quick and easy money.

Generally, the country’s laws are flexible while simultaneously protecting the public’s welfare.

 

History of Canada’s Gambling Laws

The ‘90s marked a new age for the gambling industry in Canada because of the computer and internet boom. The first online casinos also launched during this era, and you no longer had to risk gambling in unlicensed casinos in Sweden if you could not access legal casinos. Avid gamblers could simply go online, although they were much fewer in number.

The first reason for this was only a few people owned computers. There was also a concern about the absence of online casino regulations. As the industry expanded, governments began establishing rules to control the sector. Today, traditional and online gambling is prevalent in the country since accessing casinos is much simpler now than before.

 

Is the gambling sector legal in Canada?

Online gambling had been illegal for years in Canada until quite recently. Now, it is legal in Canada in different forms. All the ten provinces and the three territories have the premise to set their own rules. The minimum legal gambling age in Canada is 19, apart from Alberta and Quebec, where players are only allowed to gamble upon turning 18.

All casinos, lotteries, racetracks as well as other gaming establishments must abide by the rules stipulated by their territory or province of operation. As previously mentioned, some forms of gambling are legal in parts of Canada and illegal in others. The country has two gambling laws; the First Nations Law and the Provincial Law.

The latter accords each territory or province control over gambling activities within its jurisdiction. Subsequently, some provincial laws are stricter than the federal regulations.

 

Take away

Today, many Canadians enjoy gambling online, from sports betting and live tables to traditional games like slots. Now that it is legal, you can safely access any reputable and legal casino online and physically.

 

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Downtown Ottawa: Ottawa Bylaw issues 513 tickets, tows 121 vehicles over Canada Day weekend | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa

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Ottawa Bylaw officers issued 30 parking tickets and had eight vehicles towed out of the downtown core on Sunday, the final day the motor vehicle control zone remains in effect.

The control zone, aimed at preventing another convoy-style occupation near Parliament Hill, came into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for Canada Day celebrations and possible protests. While roads remain open for traffic, vehicles participating in protests are prohibited and there is no parking or stopping in the area.

In an update on Sunday afternoon, Ottawa Bylaw said since 8 a.m. Wednesday, officers have handed out 513 parking tickets – 186 tickets on Saturday and Sunday – and towed 121 vehicles.

Six tickets have been issued for encumbering the highway, one ticket for “pile material on highway” and three tickets for unlicensed mobile refreshment vehicles.

Bylaw Services says three tickets were issued for the unauthorized use of fireworks, while one ticket was issued for public urination.

“We thank all residents and visitors who celebrated Canada Day while respecting Ottawa residents and laws,” Bylaw Services said on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Ottawa police have not commented on the police operation in downtown Ottawa over the Canada Day long weekend. Officers from the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces across the country joined Ottawa police for the Canada Day policing plan.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News Ottawa he thought the Canada Day celebrations and the police presence went “really, really well.”

“We were better prepared, we had more police officers at the right time we needed them from different police services and at the end of the day I think what we did was make sure there was a police presence but we also were very firm with applying the rules,” Watson said.

The motor vehicle control zone stretches from Colonel By/Sussex Drive in the east to Booth Street in the west, and Wellington Street in the north to Laurier Avenue in the south. The control zone also includes the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway east of Parkdale Avenue.

It will remain in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday.

 

The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)

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