The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
“As a result of the strict public health measures we introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, we are seeing a steady improvement in our situation as ICU and hospital numbers begin to stabilize,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While we must remain conscious of the continued threat the virus poses, with millions of Ontarians having received at least their first dose of vaccine we can now begin the process of a slow and cautious re-opening of the province in full consultation with our public health professionals.”
Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:
“While we know that now is not yet the moment to reopen, Ontarians deserve to know the path forward on what we will carefully reopen and when, starting with the settings we know are safest,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Brighter days are ahead and we believe this Roadmap represents a path out of the pandemic and will encourage Ontarians to get vaccinated and to continue following public health advice.”
The provincewide emergency brake restrictions remain in effect while the province assesses when it will be moving to Step One of the roadmap with the Stay at Home order expiring on June 2, 2021. During this time, the government will continue to work with stakeholders on reopening plans to ensure full awareness of when and how they can begin to safely reopen.
Due to the continuing success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the collective efforts of Ontarians in following public health and workplace safety measures to date, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. the province will reopen outdoor recreational amenities with restrictions in place, such as the need to maintain physical distancing. These amenities include but are not limited to golf courses and driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, splash and spray pads and skate parks. No outdoor sports or recreational classes are permitted. Outdoor limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to five people, which will allow these amenities to be used for up to five people, including with members of different households. All other public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will remain in effect.
At this time, publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue to operate under teacher-led remote learning. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and medical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and other health officials will be consulted to determine if it may be safe to resume in-person learning.
“Due to the stringent efforts of Ontarians following public health and workplace safety measures, we have reached the point where we can begin preparing to exit the provincewide emergency brake and lift the Stay-at-Home order,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We must remain vigilant however, as the fight against COVID-19 is not over and our case counts, ICU capacity and hospitalizations are still concerning. It remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow all public health and workplace safety measures currently in place to help further reduce transmission and save lives.”
The government will continue to work with the Public Health Measures Table, Public Health Ontario, and other public health and scientific experts to determine public health guidance for Ontarians to follow, including protocols for masking and outdoor/indoor gatherings, after being fully vaccinated.
The federal government has launched a new program that offers homeowners grants to retrofit their homes and make them more energy efficient. The Canada Greener Home Grants program, funded to the tune of $2.6 billion, will offer homeowners grants of up to $5,000 that can be put toward energy-saving projects such as:
There are certain eligibility criteria that must be met in order for the homeowner to take advantage of the grants, including but not limited to:
Please check for additional information on program eligibility and to learn more about the initiative.
To support the anticipated need for energy advisors, the government recently announced that it is providing up to $10 million to recruit, train and mentor 2,000 new energy auditors.
In this year's federal budget, the government proposed creating a separate fund of $4.4 billion over seven years through which the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) could offer homeowners interest-free loans of up to $40,000 in exchange for authorized energy-efficient retrofit projects. These loans could be available as soon as this summer, and it is believed that more than 200,000 households would take part in that program.
The Canada Greener Homes Grant program, the hiring of 2,000 new energy advisers, and the yet-to-be-launched $40,000 retrofit loan program through CMHC are all part of a bigger greener homes initiatives that is expected to be announced soon.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced it will move forward with a proposed new qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages, reinforcing the mortgage underwriting principles outlined in Guideline B-20. As of June 1, 2021, the qualifying rate for all uninsured mortgages should be the greater of the mortgage contractual rate plus 2%, or 5.25%. The change raises the minimum qualifying rate by 46 basis points from the current 4.79%.
The federal government will align with OSFI by establishing a new minimum qualifying rate at the same level for insured mortgages.
TRREB, along with CREA, participated in the consultation and advised the government to consider a regionalized approach. To review the TRREB submission to OSFI, please click here. The government’s response can be found in the annex from OSFI.
Both OSFI and the federal government have indicated they will review the impact of the changes before the end of the year and adjust as necessary. TRREB will monitor impacts in the resale housing market and continue to advocate in partnership with CREA on behalf of Members and their clients.
TRREB welcomes the recent acknowledgement by the federal government that all levels of government need to address the growing imbalance between supply and demand. TRREB has advocated for many years for a supply-focused approach in order to bring balance to the market and increase housing affordability. We are encouraged that the federal government has taken note.
The provincial government is extending the stay-at-home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures in Toronto and Peel Region until at least March 8, 2021.
In addition, based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, York Region will be moving back to the COVID-19 Response Framework at the Red-Control level as of Monday, February 22, with additional restrictions in capacity limits for retail stores, and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order. This will allow indoor dining to resume and gyms to reopen with reduced capacity. York Region now joins Durham and Halton in the red zone.
What does this mean for Real Estate?
Real estate is still considered an essential service; however, it's not business as usual:
Also, the province has extended all emergency orders under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) until March 21. Orders under the ROA include the province's ability to implement rules on public gatherings, business closures and managing outbreaks in hospitals or long-term care homes.
The extension of the emergency orders does not change the length of how long a region is placed in lockdown. The full list of orders being extended by the Ontario government can be found here.
For the complete provincial announcement, please click here. We will continue to keep Members updated.
The federal government has announced its intent to introduce regulatory and legislative amendments to increase the number of weeks of benefits available for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits. This legislation needs to receive Royal Assent before it comes into force.
The proposed changes would:
For more details, please review the official announcement. For information on all current federal programs, please check Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
City of Toronto urges residents to wear masks in enclosed common spaces of apartment buildings and condominiums
January 31, 2021
The City of Toronto is urging residents to wear masks or face coverings in enclosed common spaces of apartment buildings and condominiums, such as elevators, hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms and any other shared facilities. Masks or face coverings should cover fully cover the nose, mouth and chin.
A public education campaign will be launched this week to remind residents about the municipal bylaws and provincial regulations that require everyone to wear masks or face coverings in all indoor public settings, including common areas in multi-residential buildings. The campaign will run on digital screens in residential apartment buildings and condominiums, as well as online and on social media.
A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets produced by someone who is infected when they cough, sneeze, or even when they laugh or speak, including by individuals who may not have symptoms – known as being asymptomatic. Evidence suggests that wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of droplets infecting those around an individual.
The City has produced two short videos and a fact sheet on how to properly and safely wear and care for non-medical masks. The information is available in 16 different languages.
If residents see a pattern of issues with masks in common areas of their residential building, they can first talk to their landlord or building manager to raise their concerns. If no action is taken by the landlord and the problems persist, residents can call 311 to submit a complaint.
In addition to provincial regulations on mandatory mask or face coverings, the City has amended bylaws in the Toronto Municipal Code to require a mask or face covering to be worn in all indoor public spaces in Toronto and in common areas in apartments and condominiums. More information about the mask bylaw is available on the COVID-19: Orders & Bylaws web page.
“COVID-19 continues to be a threat to us all and we need to remain vigilant, especially as new variants of the virus have been confirmed in Toronto. Wearing a mask is the right thing to do. I know we all have pandemic fatigue, but we must not let our guard down and continue to wear masks, especially in common areas of apartments or condominiums. The public health advice is clear that this will help protect you, your family and your neighbours.”
– Mayor John Tory
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter , Instagram or Facebook .
Apply now for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant
ELIGIBLE BUSINESSES CAN RECEIVE BETWEEN $10,000 AND $20,000
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant is intended to help small businesses (including sole proprietorships) in Ontario that are required to close or significantly restrict services under Ontario’s provincewide shutdown effective December 26, 2020.
Eligible businesses can receive between $10,000 and $20,000. Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with funding up to a maximum of $20,000 to help with revenue losses expected as a result of the provincewide shutdown.
Businesses will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for them. For example, some businesses will use the support to pay employee wages, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.
For more information, consult the User Application Guide.
Rent freeze for 2021The Government of Ontario has passed legislation to freeze rent at 2020 levels. This means that rents will not increase in 2021 for the vast majority of rented units covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.
The rent freeze applies to most tenants living in:
The proper forms for this notice are available from the Landlord and Tenant Board. If your landlord has not provided the proper notice, or you believe that your rent has been raised by an improper amount, you can dispute it at the Landlord and Tenant Board within 12 months after the amount was first charged.
Rent increase guidelineThe guideline is the maximum a landlord can increase most tenants’ rent during a year without the approval of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
For most tenants, your rent can’t go up by more than the rent increase guideline for every year.
The guideline applies to most private residential rental units covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. This applies to most tenants, such as those living in:
A sample calculation of a rent increaseYour monthly rent was increased to $1,000 on June 1, 2019. The guideline for 2020 is 2.2%. Therefore:
Your landlord would need to provide you written notice at least 90 days before June 1, 2020.
Previous rent increase guidelinesThe chart below illustrates yearly rent increases, in Ontario, from 1991 to 2020.
Year guideline (%)
Additional InformationFor more information on the rent increase guideline, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board:contact the Landlord and Tenant Board to determine whether a unit is exempt from the rent increase guideline.
To show that a unit is exempt from rent control, landlords can:
Landlords might want to keep records, such as:
The landlord must also prove either:
RentSafeTO for Building Owners
COVID-19 health and safety measures need to be taken by apartment building owners and operators. These measures include providing hand sanitizer in common areas, keeping non-essential common areas closed as specified by provincial orders, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces, and posting Toronto Public Health signage.RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures that building owners and operators comply with building maintenance standards. The program includes auditing and enforcement, so that the hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents living in rental buildings have clean, safe and secure homes.
If you own one or more rental apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units, you are required to register and renew annually to comply with the program. See Interpretation Bulletin: Apartment Building Definition.
Download the Building Owner Handbook for an overview of the bylaw and summary of key regulations. The handbook was last updated on November 2020.
Owners and operators of apartment buildings need to adopt COVID-19 health and safety measures. If you have health and safety concerns, talk to your landlord or building manager first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards is a bylaw enforcement program that ensures apartment building owners comply with building maintenance standards. The program applies to apartment buildings with three or more storeys and 10 or more units.
Residents need to contact their landlord first and submit service requests for issues such as pests, low or no heat, plumbing problems, leaky ceilings or problems in the common areas of the building.
Landlords need to respond to urgent service requests, such as no heat or water, within 24 hours. Non-urgent service requests need to be responded to within seven (7) days. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 for the RentSafeTO team.
Owners of rental apartment buildings are required to register and comply with the RentSafeTO program. Learn more about what building owners must do to comply.
If landlords do not comply with the maintenance standards, the RentSafeTO team can issue orders and charge landlords, which can result in substantial fines. The City can also have a contractor complete any necessary work and place the costs on the building’s property taxes.
Condo buildings, townhomes, or units in a private home (basement or main floor apartment) are not part of the RentSafeTO program. If you are renting an apartment in a building that is not part of the RentSafeTO program and experience a problem, please talk to your landlord first and submit a service request. If you get no action from your landlord and problems persist, you can contact 311 to have the City investigate.