The Ontario government is introducing a new Code of Ethics for home builders to further strengthen protections for buyers and owners of new homes. The changes will come into effect on July 1, 2021, and will support greater transparency through the new home buying process for all Ontarians, while improving a standard of work and professionalism that reflects the best of Ontario’s homebuilding industry.
In general, the new code encourages licensed builders to behave with integrity, honesty and not intimidate or coerce potential buyers. A key requirement is that builders “shall be clear and truthful in describing the features, benefits and prices connected with a new home.” The code also seeks to ensure that any advertising related to new homes is not “false, misleading, deceptive or illegal.”
In addition to the Code of Ethics, the province will provide the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) – responsible for licensing new home builders – with a new discipline committee and appeals committee process to make it easier for homeowners and buyers to settle disputes and hold bad actors accountable. HCRA has the right to deny licences if it feels builders are not adhering to the provisions of the Code of Ethics.
You can read the province’s new release for more information here.
Ontario’s Stay-at-Home order expired June 2, 2021; however, all other public health and workplace measures will remain in place provincewide until the province enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, at which point, some restrictions will ease with an initial focus on outdoor settings.
Restrictions that will remain in effect beyond June 2 include limitations on gatherings, businesses, services and activities. These include:
Individuals will be able to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason; however, they are not permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or a caregiver.
A simple, easy-to-understand summary of restrictions can be found on the province’s “Reopening Ontario” webpage, which provides details on what public health measures are in place before the province enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen.
Residential Evictions Moratorium is Lifted
With the expiry of the Stay-at-Home order, emergency order O. Reg 266/21 (Residential Evictions) also expired on June 2, 2021.
The Building Transit Faster Act, 2020 introduces measures that support the accelerated completion of the province’s four priority subway projects.
Homeowners should be aware that as of June 3, 2021, lands for the Ontario Line, Scarborough Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension projects have been designated. The Bill is about the planning and construction of the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Yonge Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.
The boundaries of the Transit Corridor Lands were set by looking at existing infrastructure in the area, the route and design of the transit project, and how it would be built. In addition, 10-metre and 30-metre buffer areas have been set around the Transit Corridor Lands to protect for and to address potential construction conflicts that could come up during further project design and construction work associated with the propriety transit projects.
What does this mean for you?
As result of this designation of lands, if you are planning to build, alter, place a building, structure or a road, or install a utility or any works that require excavation or dewatering, grading, on or under transit corridor land, or land within 10-metres or 30-metres of the Transit Corridor lands, a Corridor Development Permit (CDP) from Metrolinx may be required in addition to any necessary municipal permits/approvals.
This new permitting requirement will help Metrolinx identify, assess, and ultimately avoid conflicts with nearby construction activities by others. It will also help reduce the likelihood that you might have to stop, revise, or redo your work in the future due to conflicts with the priority transit project.
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.