Two Victoria real estate agents have been fired following allegation of sexual assault made against them.
In its initial statement made on Instagram Thursday midday, The Agency Victoria – a luxury real estate company – said it had just become aware of the allegations and that it was taking appropriate action to resolve the matter.
“The allegations predate the agents working with our brokerage, although, we are extremely concerned and taking these allegations seriously,” the statement read.
At the time of the allegations, the two agents were working as independent contractors with Engel and Volkers Vancouver Island. Owner of the company Scott Piercy said although the individuals left Engel and Volkers in 2019, the company is taking the allegations seriously and will continue to look into it.
A few hours after its first post, The Agency took to Instagram once again to say it had fired the two accused.
“We want to be perfectly clear; we are shocked and deeply disturbed by the accusations,” The Agency wrote. “We stand in full support of women who have endured sexual abuse and we encourage anyone with information to please come forward.”
|The Local has severed ties with one of its minority partners after sexual assault allegations arose against them online. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)|
At the same time, Victoria pub The Local also took to Instagram to state that Wednesday night it became aware of sexual assault allegations made against a minority partner.
“I and the whole Local community are deeply shaken by the allegation – the actions described are disturbing, disgusting and wrong,” owner Jeremy Petzing wrote. “Our thoughts are first and foremost with the woman who has brought forward these allegations.”
The pub severed ties with the accused and said they will no longer be welcome at The Local or Farmhouse.
The allegations, which surfaced on social media, are part of a growing number calling out individuals in Victoria.
In early February, Chuck’s Burger Bar fired an employee after numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct emerged against him online. Later that month, Victoria police confirmed that its officers were investigating the allegations, but that no charges had been laid. Soon after, the bar closed its doors.
Earlier this month, a second Victoria restaurant recognized that sexual assault allegations had been made against one of its employees. E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar announced it would be closing temporarily while it internally investigated the situation. Days later, it announced the employee had been fired and that it was committed to annual sex education programs for management.
Social media pages can serve as a safe place for sexual assault survivors to share their stories, said Janni Aragon, gender studies and political science professor at the University of Victoria, speaking with Black Press Media in February. They can also help survivors to understand they aren’t alone.
Anyone who wishes to report an incident or has information about an incident can call the VicPD report desk at 250-995-7654 ext. 1.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers counselling, victim services and a sexual assault response team. The centre can be reached 24/7 at 250-383-3232.
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Canadian home prices on fire and policymakers using ‘squirt gun’
By Julie Gordon
OTTAWA (Reuters) -Buyers are turning up the heat on Canada‘s searing hot housing market, their frenzy leading to record sales, prices and starts, but in a budget unveiled on Monday the federal government did little to tamp down the fire.
The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index showed home price gains accelerated 1.5% in March from February, data released on Tuesday showed.
The index was up 10.8% on the year, with a record 81% of the broader 32 markets surveyed posting annual gains above 10%. That far exceeds the last peak in 2017.
On Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, presenting Canada‘s first budget in over two years, fleshed out a previously announced tax on foreigners parking money in Canadian homes, along with limited investments in affordable housing.
“The idea here is that homes are for Canadians to live in. They are not assets for parking offshore money,” Freeland told reporters.
For those watching, it was nowhere near enough.
“It’s like a squirt gun next to a towering inferno,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“We need to break the psychology that real estate is this can’t lose investment that only goes up,” he added. “Before this turns into a full-on bubble.”
March was a record month for new housing starts and home resale prices surged 31.6% year-over-year.
New Zealand, facing a similarly red hot market, introduced a raft of cooling measures including new taxes on investors and stricter lending rules.
And most measures that would cool the frenzy are up to the provinces and federal government who remain cautious as a third wave of COVID-19 rages.
Real estate agents say more listing are now coming to market, but they still see a massive long-term shortage. They expected more than the 35,000 units pledged in the budget.
“It’s not going to do much to intervene in the activity level we’re seeing now across the country,” said Christopher Alexander of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in OttawaEditing by David Gregorio and Alistair Bell)
Canada housing starts up 21.6% in March to new record – CMHC
By Julie Gordon
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian housing starts rose 21.6% in March compared with the previous month, easily beating expectations and hitting a new record, data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation showed on Monday.
The seasonally adjusted annualized rate of housing starts rose to 335,200 units in March, well ahead of analyst expectations for 250,000 units, and a new high for all months on record.
Much of the gain was on multiple urban starts, which jumped 33.8% to 222,358 units. Single-detached urban starts rose 3.6% to 78,615 units.
“The big acceleration came as weather was unseasonably warm in many parts of the country,” Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Economics, said in a note.
Mendes added that new home construction will likely be a major contributor to overall GDP growth again in 2021, even as building activity cools off from the “torrid pace” of recent months.
Canada‘s average home selling price soared an eye-watering 31.6% year-over-year in March, hitting a new high as sales also climbed to a new all-time record, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said earlier this month.
A supply imbalance has been blamed for skyrocketing home prices through the pandemic, though new listings surged in March, which, coupled with strong starts, suggests a more balanced market could be coming.
“Red-hot demand for real estate propelled a record month for housing starts in March. While the market will need a long stretch of supply growth to have a meaningful effect on prices, the March numbers are a solid start,” said Shelly Kaushik, an economist with BMO Capital Markets in a note.
Canada‘s ruling Liberals are set to unveil their first full budget in two years on Monday, with billions in pandemic supports as COVID-19 infections skyrocket, a national daycare plan and new taxes on luxury goods.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jonathan Oatis)
Canadian home sales, prices surge to new record in March
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian home sales rose 5.2% in March from February, setting a new all-time record amid strong demand in markets across the country, the Canadian Real Estate Association said on Thursday.
The industry group said actual sales, not seasonally adjusted, rose 76.2% from a year earlier, while the group’s Home Price Index was up 20.1% from last March and up 3.1% from February.
The actual national average selling price hit a new record at C$716,828 ($572,821) in March, up 31.6% from a year earlier and rising 5.7% from February.
($1 = 1.2514 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa)
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