More REALTORS® Can Now Access the Canada Emergency Business Account

On October 26, 2020, Federal Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, announced that the CEBA would be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business account through their financial institution.

The CEBA program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses that have experienced a loss in revenue due to COVID-19. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 per cent (up to $10,000).

Eligible businesses include those who had a total payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million in 2019, as well as sole proprietors receiving business income directly and family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends. Businesses must also have an active Canada Revenue Agency business number with an effective date of registration on or prior to March 1, 2020.

If you are currently operating a small real estate business through a personal account with your financial institution and meet the above outlined eligibility requirements, you may now open a business account with your financial institution.

Once you have successfully opened a business account, you can apply for CEBA by contacting your financial institution. The deadline to apply is December 31st, 2020.

If you are wondering if the CEBA program is right for your business, the Government has created a pre-screening tool to provide business owners with an indication of their eligibility.

The Government has also created a CEBA Call Centre, which can be reached at 1-888-324-4201 between Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Canada’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement

On December 1, the Government of Canada released their 2020 Fall Economic Statement which included some good news for Ontario home owners, buyers, sellers, and REALTORS®.

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

The government is expanding the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive to enhance eligibility in Toronto.

To help people in Toronto buy a house, the federal government is expanding the program to be available to eligible buyers to purchase a home up to 4.5 times their household income, an increase from the current limit of 4 times household income.

Additionally, the eligible buyer’s income threshold is being raised from $120,000 to $150,000 for Toronto. These changes will come into effect in the spring of 2021.

Home Energy Retrofits and Assessments

The government is proposing to provide $2.6 billion over 7 years, starting in 2020-21, to Natural Resources Canada to help homeowners improve their home energy efficiency by providing up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy-efficient improvements to their homes.

Additional information on home energy efficiency grants will be provided in a future announcement, and eligibility for these grants will be retroactive to December 1, 2020.

The government also recognizes that homeowners and landlords need to be able to access simple and affordable financing to make deeper home energy retrofits. Over the coming months, the government will outline details of a low-cost loan program that integrates and builds on available energy audits and grants, and which can be easily accessed by Canadians.

Extending the Application Deadline for CEBA

The government is extending the application deadline for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to March 31, 2021.

CEBA provides an interest-free loan to small businesses of up to $40,000, with up to $10,000 being forgivable if the loan is paid back by December 31, 2022. The CEBA program will also soon be expanded, allowing eligible businesses to access an additional interest-free $20,000 loan where it is needed.

To read the full Fall Economic Statement, please click the button below:

Have Your Voice Heard – Residential Zoning Project

The City of Hamilton’s Comprehensive Zoning By-law No. 05-200 came into effect on May 25, 2005, and is being implemented in stages. This Zoning By-law applies to the entire City of Hamilton and is replacing the Zoning By-laws of the former municipalities.

The final phase of this project – Residential Zoning Project — is focused on residential zones in the urban area.

For more information on Zoning Bylaw No. 05-200, please click the button below:

The City of Hamilton is now asking for your input on the Residential Zoning Project through the Engage Hamilton portal. To view the Engage Hamilton Residential Zoning Project webpage, please click the button below:

There are four key dates associated with the Residential Zoning Project:

  • Secondary Dwelling Unit Surveys Open (October 19)
  • Secondary Dwelling Unit Surveys Close (November 16)
  • Virtual Town Hall # 1 (November 12) – Registration details to come
  • Virtual Town Hall # 2 (November 16) – Registration details to come

The two surveys — Urban and Rural Secondary Dwelling Units — can be found by clicking the buttons below:

Please note, to participate in the two surveys, you must have an Engage Hamilton account. To register for an Engage Hamilton account, please click the button below:

RAHB Continues to Meet with Elected Officials: MPP Jane McKenna & MP Adam van Koeverden

RAHB Continues to Meet  with Elected Officials: MPP Jane McKenna & MP Adam van Koeverden

On October 2, Government Relations Chair Dave Zalepa, Vice-Chair Patrick Tomaszewski and Member Shawn Paterson, met with MPP Jane McKenna to discuss:

  • The possibility of a land transfer tax holiday
  • The home renovation tax credit
  • Creating community opportunity zones

On October 5, GR Chair Dave Zalepa and RAHB staff Wendy Stewart, in partnership with OMDREB, met with MP Adam van Koeverden to discuss:

  • Creating homes across the housing spectrum
  • Housing’s place within infrastructure projects
  • The green renovation program


For more information on advocacy issues at the provincial and federal level, please click the below buttons:

Provincial Advocacy and Resources

Federal Advocacy and Resources

Canada and Ontario Invest in Public Transit Infrastructure for Burlington’s Growing Population

On September 8, the Honourable Karina Gould announced funding for six projects that will modernize and improve public transit in Burlington.

The Government of Canada is investing more than $5.1 million for projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan.

To learn more about the Investing in Canada plan, please click the button below:

Burlington public transit users will benefit from:

  • The purchase of 12 new 40-foot conventional buses to expand the fleet over the next three years;
  • The purchase of five new conventional buses that will replace current buses that have reach the end of their lifecycle,
  • The purchase of three specialized accessible vehicles to support the community’s need for more accessible public transit over the next three years;
  • The installation of devices on traffic signals and conventional buses that will help increase public transit efficiency and on-time performance by allowing buses to move through traffic more efficiently;
  • The procurement and implementation of an intelligent transit system technology system to introduce new, on-demand services to areas that are currently under-serviced, and;
  • The purchase of a new fuel that will improve the quality of the public transit system.

For more information, please click the button below:

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

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: