Regional Re-Opening & Stage 2

On June 8, Premier Ford announced that the Province will increase the social gathering limit from five to 10 people, and all places of worship will be allowed to open and operate at 30 per cent capacity, as of Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. Physical distancing measures of 2 metres are still in effect.

Additionally, Premier Ford announced the Province’s regional reopening plan for Ontario. Most of the province will move into Stage 2 on Friday, June 12, with the exception of communities in the Golden Horseshoe (Halton Region, Hamilton, Niagara Region, Durham Region, York Region, Peel Region and Toronto), Haldimand-Norfolk and border communities in Windsor-Essex and Lambton.

What Can Open in Stage Two

For more information on places that can open in Stage 2, with limitations and physical distancing measures, please click the button below:

Ban on Commercial Evictions

Premier Ford also announced, as of June 3, that he has ordered legislation to ban all commercial evictions for those who qualify for the commercial rent relief program. The ban will last until August 31, 2020.

CMHC Announces Changes to Policy for Insured Mortgages

In order to protect future home buyers and reduce risk, CMHC is changing its underwriting policies for insured mortgages.

Effective July 1, the following changes will apply for new applications for homeowner transactional and portfolio mortgage insurance:

  • Limiting the Gross/Total Debt Servicing (GDS/TDS) ratios to our standard requirements of 35/42;
  • Establish minimum credit score of 680 for at least one borrower; and
  • Non-traditional sources of down payment that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes.

Under the changes effective July 1, CMHC will also no longer treat non-traditional sources of down payment funding, such as a personal unsecured line of credit, as equity for insurance purposes. Additionally, the CMHC will be suspending refinancing for multi-unit mortgage insurance except when the funds are used for repairs or reinvestment in housing.

For more information, please click the button below:

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit & The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Federal Government has launched the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS):

If you intend to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), you can get started by familiarizing yourself with the application process and registering for your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) My Account prior to applications opening on Monday, April 2020.

Please apply during your allotted window, as designated by the CRA:

If you were born in the month of Apply for the CERB on Your best day to apply
January, February or March Mondays April 6
April, May, or June Tuesdays April 7
July, August, or September Wednesdays April 8
October, November, or December Thursdays April 9
Any month Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

 

How to know if you will qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit if you previously had an income and is someone who is not working because of COVID-19 (directly or indirectly).

As REALTORS®, you should expect to be asked for supporting documentation later in the application process.

In addition to the CERB and the CEWS, the government has taken steps to stabilize the real estate sector through several other measures:

  • The Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25 per cent;
  • The Bank of Canada will be purchasing ~$500 million in mortgage bonds per week;
  • A deferral of GST and HST remittances and customs duty payments;
  • Launch of the Canada Emergency Business Account which provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses to cover their operating costs;
  • Export Development Canada will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions can extend to Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises, up to $6.25 million;
  • A co-lending program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months to:

  • Wage-earners and self-employed individuals, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance;
  • Workers who must stop working due to COVID-10 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support;
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19;
  • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures;
  • Workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or a toll-free number.

For more information on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, please click the buttons below:

Update on Burlington Official Plan and Process of Development Applications RE: COVID-19

Attention REALTORS® who work and live in Burlington

Official Plan Update

The original timeline of the Burlington Official Plan has been delayed due to COVID-19. The policies will be released at the end of April and the Statutory Public Meeting will be scheduled for the fall.

Planning Applications

Regarding planning applications:

  • Development applications received by March 13, 2020, are currently being processed.
  • Inquires continue to be handled by Planning staff via phone and email.
  • Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.
  • No Pre-application public meetings will be held at this time, including Millcroft Green, and will be re-scheduled at a later date.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has suspended all LPAT hearings scheduled to take place from March 16 until the end of June. The cancelled hearings will be rescheduled at a later date.

Building Permits and Inspections

Regarding building permits and inspections:

  • Building permit applications received by March 13, 2020, are currently being processed.
  • Staff has implemented a modified level of building inspections. Exterior building inspections continue and a modified process for interior inspections is in place that does not involve staff going into buildings and protects staff from physical contact in line with COVID-19 safety precautions.
  • Staff are exploring how new applications might be accepted and processed.

Business License Renewal

Existing business licenses that require renewal will be extended during the COVID-19 crisis.

Bank of Canada Lowers Overnight Rate Target to 0.25 Per Cent

On March 27, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 0.25 per cent due to COVID-19’s adverse effect on both the Canadian and global economy. COVID-19 has resulted in a substantial fiscal policy action in Canada to help support individuals and business stay afloat.

The Bank of Canada will continue to monitor the economic and financial conditions closely and will announce the next overnight rate targeted for April 15.

For more information, please click the button below for the Bank of Canada’s full press release:

Interest Rate Lowered

On March 4, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate to 1.25 per cent due to COVID-19’s adverse effect on both the Canadian and global economy. COVID-19 has halted business activity and disrupted the supply chain and as a result, pulled down commodity prices and the value of the Canadian dollar.

The Bank of Canada will continue to monitor the economic and financial conditions closely and will announce the next overnight rate targeted for April 15.

For more information, please click the button below for the Bank of Canada’s full press release:

Interim Control Bylaw Extended

On February 27, the City of Burlington released that the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL – also known as the “Downtown Development Freeze”) will remain in effect and will not end on March 5, as was previous reported by the City of Burlington. This is due to appeals filed with the City Clerk.

The City of Burlington received 31 appeals for both Official Plan Amendment 119 and Zoning Bylaw Amendment 2020.418. To view the amendments provided on February 6, please click the buttons below:

The ICBL will remain in effect until the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) has issued a final decision on each appeal of Zoning By-law Amendment 2020.418.

The recommendations from the findings of the ICBL study include proposed amendments to Burlington’s current in-force-and-effect Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw. The staff recommendation report and proposed amendments can be viewed online at www.burlington.ca/icbl.

The City is also working closely with Halton Region to confirm with the Province the requirements and next steps for approval of changes to the Downtown Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designations. City Council has directed the Chief City Planner to report back in May 2020 with recommendations.

The City will share more information on the ICBL appeal process and timelines as they become available, as well as details about the nature of the appeals. Residents can stay up-to-date by visiting the City website at www.burlington.ca/en/services-for-you/interim-control-bylaw-icbl.asp.

TRESA Committee Amendments

On February 19, the Government of Ontario passed two amendments to Bill 145, the Trust in Real Estate Act (“TRESA”) at Committee that address two major concerns of REALTORS®: new regulations on advertising and reducing standard forms red tape.

 

New Regulations on Advertising, re: Salesperson and REALTOR®

First, OREA asked that the term “salesperson” in REBBA be replaced with the term that more accurately reflects the role that REALTORS® play when representing consumers during one of the most important financial decisions of their lives.

The Minister of Government and Consumer Services has committed to bringing forward a regulation to permit registrants to use the terms “REALTOR®” or “real estate agent” in their advertising to consumers. The Minister will amend this regulation to permit the use of REALTOR® or agent in addition to salesperson.

 

Reducing Standard Forms Red Tape

The second amendment clarifies that only specific forms enshrined in regulation may be approved by RECO. Every year, countless changes to Standard Forms are required to ensure that they accurately reflect the real estate landscape in the province. The Minister noted it is her preference that both OREA and RECO work together to strengthen buyer and seller representation agreements. This change will avoid additional red tape and ensure that necessary changes to OREA’s Standard Forms are made in a timely manner.

Please note that none of these changes have yet to be passed into law.

 

Next Steps:

The next steps for TRESA is a third reading back in the Legislature, final passage and proclamation. It is also important to note that most sections of the Act will require supporting regulations before they come into effect.

Burlington Mayor State of the City Address Recap

On January 30, RAHB attended and sponsored the Burlington Mayor’s State of the City Address, where RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia had the pleasure of introducing Mayor Meed Ward.

In Mayor Meed Ward’s address, she touched upon several topics: community pride, business activity, what has been done, and what is to come.

Business activity: Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force & Burlington One Brand Project

Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force

Mayor Meed Ward discussed how Burlington City Council has implemented the recommendations developed as part of the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force initiatives. These were developed to help grow and retain business in Burlington, and attract new talent to the city. For more information on the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force, please click the button below:

Burlington One Brand Project

Mayor Meed Ward also discussed that in the near future, Burlington City Council will be launching the Burlington One Brand Project that will help position Burlington to compete for investments, increase tourism and attract new businesses. For more information about the Burlington One Brand Project, please click the button below:

What has been done and what is to come?

Vision to Focus

Mayor Meed Ward discussed how Burlington City Council has broken down the 25-year Strategic Plan into key goals and strategic actions that can be accomplished within the council’s four-year term. For more information on Vision to Focus, please click the button below:

Interim Control Bylaw

Mayor Meed Ward discussed how Burlington wants to control pressures of over development in the downtown core, while remaining open for business. Mayor Meed Ward explained the focus of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICB)*, which froze development in around the major transit stations and Burlington GO Stations for one year. The ICB was focused on height and density. For more information on the ICB, please click the button below:

*To be lifted on March 5, 2020

Climate Action Plan

Mayor Meed Ward discussed how Burlington City Council declared a climate emergency, which has resulted in Burlington creating its first City of Burlington Climate Action Plan. The function of the action plan is to create a net-zero carbon emissions city. For more information about the City of Burlington Climate Action Plan, please click the button below:

2020 Budget

Mayor Meed Ward discussed the approval of the 2020 budget with a 3.99 per cent increase in the City’s portion of property taxes and an overall tax increase of 2.44 per cent – the lowest tax increase in years. For more information on the 2020 budget, please click the button below:

Q&A Session

To end the Burlington Mayor State of the City Address, Mayor Meed Ward answered questions from the crowd. Mayor Meed Ward was asked about housing affordability, and emphasized that it will be the next biggest issue on the horizon for Burlington City Council.

Private Tree Bylaw Public Information Session

The City of Burlington is hosting a series of public information session to help residents and businesses learn about the newly adopted Private Tree Bylaw.

Registration for the information sessions is not required and will be held on:

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020
    Appleby Ice Centre, Community Room 1
    1 to 3 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
    Central Arena, Auditorium
    1 to 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020
    Burlington Seniors’ Centre, Freeman and Indian Point Rooms
    7 to 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020
    Aldershot Arena, Community Room
    7 to 9 p.m.

About the Private Tree Bylaw

As of January 27, 2020, anyone within Burlington’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation:

  • To remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter measured at 1.4 m from the ground;
  • To remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm in diameter at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year;
  • To potentially remove heritage trees and endangered species; and
  • To complete work on a tree that could potentially cause harm.

To apply for a permit or to read the full bylaw, please click the button below:

Interim Control Bylaw: Approved

Recommendations from the findings of the ICBL Land Use Study approved by Council.

On January 30, 2020, Burlington City Council approved the revised recommendations from the findings of the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land Use Study, including the approval of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments resulting from the ICBL Land Use Study.

If no appeals are received, the ICBL will end on March 5, 2020.

The purpose of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments is to:

  • Strengthen the integrations between land use and transit by introducing policies related to transit-supportive development;
  • Introduce the concept of Major Transit Station Areas (MTSAs) and a policy framework – MTSAs include the Burlington and Aldershot GO Stations, as well as the John Street Bus Terminal;
  • Introduce development criteria for development applications within the study area;
  • Update or add definitions to the Official Plan to align with provincial policy documents and assist in the interpretation of Official Plan policies; and
  • Introduce additional permitted use, height requirements and other policies on lands near the Burlington GO Station.

To review the timeline, actions and recommendations of the ICBL, as well as Council minutes and reports, please click the button below: