Ontario Municipal Election Information 2018

The Ontario Municipal Election is this Monday, October 22, 2018 and we encourage all RAHB REALTORS® to vote for those who represent you, your family, your community and your clients.

Please see below for links to where you can find candidate information for each of the areas within our RAHB market, as well as general voter information for those areas:

City of Hamilton

City of Burlington

Haldimand County

Niagara Region


And when considering your available candidates, we ask that you keep the below questions in mind:

  • Do the candidates support or oppose the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT)?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose the LRT?
  • Do Burlington candidates support or oppose increased development?
  • What are the plans of Burlington candidates to reduce traffic congestion?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose rental licensing?
  • Do Hamilton candidates support or oppose easing the process to establish a secondary suite?
  • Do Haldimand candidates support or oppose development?
  • Do Niagara candidates support or oppose growth?
  • Will your candidates support or oppose initiatives to improve housing affordability?

City of Hamilton – Rental Licensing Pilot

On September 27, 2018, the City of Hamilton Rental Licensing Sub-Committee voted in favour to establish a rental licensing pilot project in Wards 1 and 8. This recommendation will go before the next City of Hamilton Council, with anticipated implementation within the first quarter of 2019.

RAHB voted against rental licensing in the City of Hamilton for several reasons, including: a lack of clarification on the process, uneven zoning by-laws throughout the City of Hamilton since amalgamation, a lack of incorporating the Maple Leaf Strategies Report containing 25 recommendations to address the issues (above and beyond), a lack of plan moving forward, etc.

Please see below for information from the City of Hamilton’s for the rental licensing pilot project, as presented to the Rental Housing Sub-Committee:

This option is intended to assist and support in bringing low density rental properties into conformity and compliance with standards and lessen enforcement challenges presently in existence. An owner occupied low density dwelling unit with three or fewer bedrooms rented within the same dwelling will not require a licence to rent individual rooms (three or fewer) as this is allowed under current zoning regulations.

Considerations in developing a Low Density Rental Housing Licensing By-law and Program include:

Potential Requirements under a Licensing By-law:

(a) Owner to provide proof of ownership and contact information (principal residence), company information
(b) Property management plan
(c) Proof of insurance
(d) Local management contact info (for out of town owners)
(e) Self/City inspections for compliance with the City’s Property Standards and Yard Maintenance By-laws
(f) Electrical safety inspection
(h) Floor plan for the building
(i) Property/yard maintenance plan
(j) Parking plan
(k) Licence fee
(l) Consent to Inspection

Pilot Project Summary

FTEs Associated Costs – FTEs By-Law Amendments Required Inspections Exemptions Fee
Rental Licensing 3 $347,463 Yes Yes, consent for inspection provided by building owner. An owner occupied unit with 3 or fewer bedrooms rented within the same dwelling unit. $200 annually



  • Apply specifically to low density rental housing (5 units or less)
  • Apply equally to existing and new low density rental housing (5 units or less)
  • Require regular inspections
  • Require proof of insurance
  • Be funded by rental housing provider
  • Safer legal properties to rent
  • Potential reduction of enforcement costs to tax base
  • Possible elimination of unsafe, non-compliant properties from market
  • Early awareness of requirements allows for collaborative compliance
  • Competition from unsafe, non-compliant properties reduced
  • Housing stock is maintained
  • Inspection enforcement encourages preventative maintenance, which is more cost effective than deferred maintenance, and thereby helps owners maintain their properties
  • Housing inhabited by the most vulnerable populations, which is frequently the worst housing, is inspected annually
  • Poorly maintained, substandard housing can have a negative effect on neighboring property values



  • Financial costs associated with a licence, passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Financial costs associated with insurance, passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Financial costs associated with bringing a property into compliance passed on to tenants, higher rents
  • Potential loss of rental income due to enforcement
  • Potential loss of affordable housing stock
  • May have an impact on affordable housing
  • Licensing rental housing may not be effective in addressing behavioural issues
  • Residential rental licensing should not be considered as an alternative to enforcement of existing by-laws



  • Although consent of entry written into regulation, unknown if tenants/owners will allow inspection
  • Compliance rates – follow-ups could be time consuming
  • Actual rental homes in Pilot Project area – 1,500 to 2,000 units estimated


RAHB is in contact with City of Hamilton staff to obtain more specifics on the plan moving forward and will provide those to RAHB members as they are obtained.

If you have any questions, please contact Wendy Stewart in the RAHB office at wendys@rahb.ca or 905.529.8101 x295 for more information.

More information can also be found on the City of Hamilton website at https://www.hamilton.ca/council-committee/council-committee-meetings/rental-housing-sub-committee.


From September 30 to October 2, RAHB was in Ottawa for CREA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Days. RAHB President Jack Loft, RAHB CEO George O’Neill, Government Relations Chair Nicolas von Bredow, Government Relations Vice-Chair Margaret Reid, and RAHB Manager of Communications & External Relations Wendy Stewart heard several informative speakers discuss housing and the issues affecting affordability. These speakers included:

  • The Honorable Joe Jordan, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Senior Associate at Bluesky Strategy Group
  • Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce who spoke on USMCA
  • David Colletto, founder partner of Abacus Data who presented data from a millennial survey. (More information about this survey can be found at http://abacusdata.ca/housing-affordability-is-the-top-issue-for-millennials-who-are-looking-to-achieve-the-dream-of-homeownership/)
  • PAC Days Media Panel, consisting of Chantal Hebert, Don Martin and Rob Russo
  • MPs Karen Vecchio and Roger Cuzner
  • The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition
  • The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • Political Pundit Panel, consisting of Kathleen Monk, Tim Power and Lisa Kinsella

CREA also presented two major recommendations/asks that PAC reps were to address with their MPs during meetings scheduled in Ottawa:

  1. Increasing the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit from $750 to $2,500
  2. Evaluating policies that affect home ownership, i.e. consider the stress test in a regional perspective

For more information on these recommendations/asks, as well as resources for if you speak with your MP, please click on the buttons below:

Brochure for MPs FAQs for Recommendations/Asks

The meetings with three of RAHB’s MPs (Bob Bratina, Scott Duvall and David Sweet) went very well, with each MP being supportive of the recommendations and asks. Mr. Sweet went so far as to recommend that the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit be increased to $5,000.

Unfortunately, RAHB reps were unable to meet with the other MPs who represent RAHB’s market area due to scheduling conflicts:

  • The Hon. Karina Gould (Burlington)
  • David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre)
  • The Hon. Filomena Tassi (Hamilton-West – Ancaster – Dundas)
  • The Hon. Lisa Raitt (Milton)
  • Diane Finley (Haldimand-Norfolk)
  • Dean Allison (Niagara-West)

RAHB will continue to reach out to our MPs over the next year as we lead into the next federal election, and we encourage RAHB members to do the same. If you have any questions about CREA’s PAC Days or the resources above, please do not hesitate to contact Wendy Stewart at wendys@rahb.ca.

Notice from City of Hamilton – Sign Bylaw

On Monday, October 1, the City of Hamilton sent a notice to all Hamilton Brokers of Record regarding the City’s intention to pursue sign bylaw infractions.

Even if your office is not located in the City of Hamilton, you must abide by the City’s sign bylaws if you have a listed property in Hamilton.

Here is what the letter said:

Dear Brokers and Agents;

Please be advised that Licensing and By-law Service Officers have noticed a proliferation of Open House Signs in contravention of the Sign By-law. While it is not the City’s intention to adversely impact your business, we can no longer ignore the blatant violations of the By-law.

Moving forward we will proactively enforce the regulations of the Sign By-law with respect to real estate signs and will investigate any formal complaints.

For your convenience, here are the regulations:

Open House directional sign

It is a contravention of the Sign By-law to place a temporary, free-standing sign advertising an open house except:

(i) between 10:00 a.m. and 6 p.m. of the day of the open house;

(ii) with a maximum sign area of 0.5 m2 ;

(iii) not displayed on a traffic island or median or attached to a light standard or utility pole; and

(iv) at least 0.3 m from a sidewalk;

Signs that are in contravention of the by-law will be subject to enforcement action, including the City removing the sign with fees being imposed and charges laid to a maximum amount of $5,000.00 upon conviction. Signs removed will be stored for a period of 28 days, after which they will be disposed of. Signs can be redeemed within the 28 days period upon payment of applicable fees prescribed in the City’s User Fees and Charges By-Law.

I trust this information is helpful. If you have any questions, or concerns, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at Lynne.Shewfelt@hamilton.ca.

For additional information on the Sign By-law please visit the City of Hamilton Website: http://www.hamilton.ca/FrequentlyRequestedBylaws, and select the Sign By-Law.

Complaints can be emailed to Licensing@hamilton.ca or by calling 905-546-2782 (option #3).

Seniors Day is October 1 – What Support is Available For The Seniors In Your Life?

This Monday, October 1 is National Seniors Day in Canada. It’s a day set aside to celebrate and honour seniors in this country – those who are over the age of 64. In addition to showing your respect and gratitude for the older adults in your life, this presents an opportunity to remind family, friends and clients of the housing/home resources available for seniors.

At the provincial level there are several resources that benefit our seniors:

There are also several resources available at the municipal level:

  • City of Hamilton offers Tax Assistance Programs, including a specific seniors (65+) tax rebate. These can be found on the City of Hamilton website at hamilton.ca/home-property-and-development/property-taxes/tax-assistance-programs.
  • Region of Halton (Burlington) offers the Halton Accessibility Repair Program (HARP). If you are a home owner and need modifications to your home to increase accessibility, HARP may be able to help. HARP provides limited funding to eligible homeowners to improve and/or maintain independent living. For more information please visit http://beta.halton.ca/For-Residents/Housing-Supports-and-Services/living-in-assisted-housing/Halton-Accessibility-Repair-Program-(HARP).
  • In Haldimand, Senior Support Services provide information and resources for seniors, including house cleaning, outdoor yard work, snow removal and minor repairs. More information and resources can be found at seniorsupport.ca/.
  • In the Niagara region, Community Support Services Niagara is a volunteer based not-for-profit agency providing comprehensive client-driven community support services to help seniors and adults with disabilities live independently in their own homes. Services include home maintenance, leaf and snow removal, safety at home resources, and others. For more information, please visit cssn.ca/.

These are just a few of the resources available within our RAHB areas that can help seniors with their housing/home needs. In addition to the above-listed resources, even more can be found at www.ShowMetheGreen.ca.

We encourage you to share these resources with your clients, friends and family to ensure our seniors are best prepared for their residential situation.

And please use the hashtag #SeniorsDay on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on October 1 to share any additional resources you have with your fellow REALTORS® — and tag us too!

City of Hamilton Sign By-Laws

All members received the following e-mail on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

RAHB members have asked us to find ways to improve professionalism across our association to ensure members are treating not only their fellow practitioners with the utmost respect, but also the public.  Your RAHB Board of Directors has, in fact, made increasing member professionalism one of our top five strategic priorities for the next three years.

We and the City of Hamilton By-Law office have recently noticed an increase in signage infractions throughout Hamilton. Specifically of concern is an increase in the number of open house directional signs within intersections and along roadways. This is outlined in Sign By-Law 10-197 (Real Estate Signs).

Under Section 5.11.2. (i), an open house directional sign, that is a temporary, free-standing sign advertising an open house, is prohibited except:

  • Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. of the day of the open house;
  • With a maximum sign area of 0.5 m2;
  • Not displayed on a traffic island or median or attached to a light standard or utility pole; and
  • At least 0.3 m from a sidewalk

RAHB understands this by-law to mandate that there should be only one directional open house sign within an intersection, per property, within the noted time parameters.

See below for examples of violations of the by-law.

In an effort to curb these infractions and to increase professionalism, we have met with the City of Hamilton and will be working closely with them to ensure this by-law is enforced.

We support the City of Hamilton in their efforts, including but not limited to the removal of signs that violate the by-law. We also support the City of Hamilton to conduct blitzes on weekends to enforce the by-law for RAHB members, as well as non-members.

We also encourage our RAHB members to anonymously report real estate sign by-law violations throughout the City of Hamilton. To do so, please collect the information, take a photo of the infraction, and send it to Angela at angelam@rahb.ca.

Additional information on the City of Hamilton’s sign by-law can be found on our blog at https://blog.rahb.ca/?p=9628.

Angela in the RAHB office can also answer any of your questions via phone at 905.529.8101 x233.

Thank you in advance for your compliance with these important by-laws, as well as your support in enforcement. Raising professionalism is good for all members.

You are a Member of the REALTOR® Action Network!

The REALTOR® Action Network (RAN) is CREA’s online advocacy platform built exclusively for REALTORS®.  RAN allows you to connect with your Member of Parliament (MP) so you can be the face of the local side of real estate in your area.

To make the most of the power of REALTORS® across the country, every REALTOR® has now been enrolled on RAN!

To be matched up with your MP, all you need to do is go to the REALTOR® Action Network site to update your profile with your home postal code – go to www.realtoractionnetwork.com. Please note: you will need to sign in to REALTOR Link® to reach the REALTOR® Action Network page.

Doing Business With Colombian Tech Companies

On Thursday, May 10, the City of Hamilton, in association with Gateway to Trade, is hosting a delegation of 14 companies from Colombia exploring strategic alliances for co-development  with companies in the Greater Hamilton area. The Colombian companies are in the digital creative and animation, software, VR/AR, mobile and audiovisual industries. Two of the visiting companies focus on next-gen visualization tech specifically for real estate/property development/industrial development.

This B2B opportunity is open to anyone who would like to meet one-on-one with one or more of the Colombian delegates. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

The process for registering and scheduling a meeting with a delegate is:

  1. View company profiles here
  2. Request your meetings:  Submit the form at the above link
    3. Attend the event and your scheduled meeting on May 10.

The details:

Thursday, May 10, 2018
McMaster Innovation Park, 175 Longwood Road, Hamilton
Noon – 1 p.m. – Networking Lunch
1 p.m. – 4 p.m. – Scheduled meetings


Help Protect the Dream

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is urging all Ontario REALTORS® to help protect the Canadian dream of home ownership for future generations.

OREA’s research shows that to keep the dream alive, governments need to:

  • Ensure the right type of housing is available to meet future needs
  • Make home ownership more affordable for first time buyers
  • Increase supply to fill the demand as it grows

How can you help?

  1. Learn more about future buyers’ prospects for home ownership at keepthedreamalive.ca
  2. Contact your local candidates in the upcoming provincial election to make them aware of the issues, then encourage them to commit to supporting policies that will make home ownership in Ontario more affordable.

Visit keepthedreamalive.ca for all the details, including how to contact your local candidates; OREA can help you make a difference in the June 7 provincial election.


OREA’s Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization

What harm can a plant or two – or four – do?

If the plant is marijuana and it is being grown indoors, as will likely be allowed by pending federal legislation, the answer may be “plenty”. Growing marijuana indoors can lead to the growth of mold and fungus, which can pose serious health risks for anyone living in the property. These effects are not limited to massive grow ops; with the suggested maximum of four plants, the light and heat from the lamps needed by the plants can cause dangerous levels of mold and fungus.

This is a serious issue for REALTORS® who will be called on to list or sell properties which may be damaged by marijuana grown either legally (once legislation is approved) or illegally.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) developed a five-point Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization for the Province to consider as it decides how to manage legalized marijuana. The recommendations in the plan focus on the effects of indoor marijuana plants on homes, home owners and home buyers, and includes proposals for dealing with illegal grow operations as well as legal plants. OREA unveiled their plan at a press conference at Queen’s Park on Monday, April 9, 2018.

Please visit www.ProtectOntarioHomes.ca to learn all about OREA’s Action Plan for Cannabis Legalization, the issues with growing marijuana indoors, and how you can support OREA’s plan by writing to your MPP.

Click here to watch OREA’s announcement at Queen’s Park on Monday, April 9, 2018.

Pier 8 Waterfront Development – Check Out the Proposals!

Want to see what’s being proposed for Hamilton’s Pier 8? Concepts from each of the four finalists will be on display for the public the following dates and times:

                Date/Time                            Location
Saturday, April 7:  10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
(City staff present for entire session)
Williams Fresh Cafe at Pier 7 (Upper Level)
Sunday, April 8: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
(City staff present for entire session)
Lime Ridge Mall, Level 2 Centre Court
Monday, April 9:  9 a.m. – 9 p.m. 
Tuesday, April 10:  9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
(City staff present 5 – 7 p.m. only)
Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch
Wednesday, April 11: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 12: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday,  April 13: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
(City staff present on Friday only, from 6  – 9 p.m.)
Evergreen Community Storefront, 294 James St. N.
Saturday, April 14: 12 – 5 p.m.
Sunday, April 15: 12 – 5 p.m.
(Not staffed; static display only)
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Second Floor, Fischer Gallery
Monday, April 16: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Tuesday, April 17: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Not staffed; static display only)
Hamilton City Hall, Main Lobby – First Floor

For more information, background details and to view the visuals, videos and take the short survey, please go to:  www.hamilton.ca/westharbour

You can view the presentation panels at the public viewings noted above. Videos will only be viewable online.