Archive | March, 2018

Rajkummar Rao gives a pleasant surprise to girlfriend Patralekha

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

Rajkummar Rao and Patralekha have been in a relationship for a long while. The two actors have always been vocal about each other in front of the media. The have been spotted accompanying each other at various events, launches and Bollywood bashes. The two lovebirds also keep flooding their social media accounts with posts that are dedicated to each other. Rajkummar and Patralekha make for a much in love couple alright.

The latest news about the couple is that Rajkummar specially took a flight from Delhi to Mumbai to surprise Patralekha. He directly went to her set where she was filming a song for her upcoming film Nanu Ki Jaanu to spend some time with her. The actress was surprised to see Rajkummar fly to Mumbai for only a little while just to be with her. Rajkummar’s gesture for his girlfriend surely shows that real love is no less dramatic than reel love.


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When Saif wanted to name their son Faiz, Kareena reveals

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

When Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan named their son Taimur Ali Khan Pataudi, the couple were slammed by netizens for naming their son after the name of the Turkish ruler who invaded India. But ‘Taimur’ means iron and Saifeena named their son Taimur because they wanted their son to be strong like an iron and so they chose the name Taimur.

At the India Today Conclave 2018, when Kareena was asked about the lots of negative comments they received after naming their son after a barbaric ruler, the actress replied, “There was a lot of trolling, but there was also an immense amount of support. Not that the trolls mattered, because the night before I was going to the hospital, Saif asked me, ‘If it’s a boy, are you sure you want to do this? Let’s change the name and call him Faiz. It’s more poetic and romantic.’ And I was like, no. If it’s a boy, I want my son to be a fighter. Taimur means ‘iron’ and I will produce Iron Man. I am proud to name him Taimur,” Kareena told Rajdeep Sardesai.

Since Taimur was born, he has been followed by the paparazzi, media likes to captured every moves of Taimur. When asked about all the media attention that the little one is getting at this age, the gorgeous mom said, “I do not like the fact that every day, Taimur’s moves are being monitored and you know, pictures are being out, what he’s doing, what he’s wearing, discussing his hairstyle… I mean, he’s just 14 months old. But I don’t know how to stop it; they are just following him around,” she said.

Kareena added that Taimur is “kind of getting used to” being a paparazzi favourite. “Of late, if I compare his pictures, now he has started posing,” she laughed. Karisma Kapoor chimed in, “He looks right into the camera now.”

When the diva was asked about how motherhood had changed her life. “My life is no more my own. My heart no more beats inside me. It beats in this gorgeous looking boy that I see every night and everything is in his two tiny little hands,” Kareena said.

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‘Water is the new fire,’ says the Insurance Bureau of Canada

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

The concrete landscape of our country’s developing cities is accelerating the loss of absorbent ground, with ever-increasing amounts of water having no place to go.

Paving over porous paradise, or any absorbent ground, increases the risk of basement flooding, say researchers using City of Toronto data.

Their study could help GTA homeowners make sense of the sometimes-ridiculed notion that the amount of land people cover with buildings, parking pads, parking lots and more, is linked to the costly rising tide of urban flooding that is expected to worsen in coming years.

“From what we have seen, areas with less green space — mostly developed areas, without any consideration for pervious or green areas — are more likely to have this kind of basement flooding,” says Yekenalem Abebe, a University of British Columbia engineering PhD candidate who co-authored the study with UBC civil engineering professor Solomon Tesfamariam and Golam Kabir, a University of Windsor assistant professor in engineering.

Other factors make basements prone to invasion from “pluvial” flooding — rainwater unable to soak into the ground, as opposed to “fluvial” flooding, which occurs when bodies of water overflow. They include aging, deteriorating sewer pipes and other infrastructure meant to steer rainfall away from homes. In Toronto, some of those pipes are more than a century old and, when overwhelmed by big storms, send untreated sewage from downtown into Lake Ontario.

Images of residential flooding, including Brantford in recent weeks, Toronto Islands last summer and across the U.S., are becoming more common.

The researchers didn’t get all the data they wanted while developing a “flood vulnerability index” that any city can use. But even if they had, Abebe said, “I would still expect pavement and impervious surfaces to be one of the most important factors,” in basement flooding risk. Urbanization is accelerating the loss of absorbent ground, communities are being hit more frequently with intense storms, and costly-to-replace infrastructure is failing to handle the runoff.

The researchers divided Toronto into 760 “grid cells,” each about one square kilometre. Using city data they assigned each grid a probability of risk.

At “very high risk” for basement flooding, according to the study, is an area spreading north from Humber Bay and widening to include neighbourhoods around High Park, Swansea and The Junction, and the downtown core. Safest is the high ground in Scarborough from the Bluffs north.

The findings of the study, published late last year in the Journal of Cleaner Production, come as no surprise to Shawna Peddle, a director of Partners for Action, which promotes flood resiliency and is based at the University of Waterloo.

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in urban flooding everywhere — it’s not just Toronto, it’s everywhere across the country and it’s because we are paving over what would normally soak up the water — the water has nowhere to go,” Peddle said in an interview.

“Even if we’re having just a little more rain than we used to, the water ends up in basements and flooding roadways, flooding parks. The weather is changing, we are seeing more rain events more often. That combined with increased development, infrastructure that’s aging, us paving over areas that used to be able to soak up the water — the result is more (flood) events and bigger losses, too.”

Partners for Action offers homeowners tips, including how to check on the flood risk for their homes, on keeping valuables upstairs and checking with their insurance companies on the kinds of water damage they cover.

Cities are encouraging green roof construction, which sees rooftops covered with vegetation, downspout disconnections, and the use of porous hard surfaces and cisterns to capture and reuse rainwater.

They are also trying to figure out where to find the canyons of cash needed to replace and upgrade storm sewer systems and fund flood-risk-reducing incentive programs. Toronto last year paid $7.1 million just to subsidize homeowner installation of backwater valves and other measures to reduce the chance of residential basement flooding, up from $3.1 million in 2013.

Two years ago, Mississauga added a stormwater charge on Peel region water bills ranging from $50 to $170 per year, depending on the size of the roof and runoff potential. More than $30 million in annual revenues are being pumped into a dedicated fund to pay for stormwater infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.

Torontonians pay for pipe replacement and other parts of a stormwater management plan through water consumption fees. City staff had suggested shifting more of the costs to home- and business-owners with the biggest hard surfaces, including parking lots and roofs.

But last May, Toronto Mayor John Tory’s executive committee shelved indefinitely a staff recommendation to propose options for a stormwater charge.

The idea of such a charge had been ridiculed by councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and former councillor Doug Ford, who is now seeking the leadership of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party, as a “roof tax,” an attack on suburban homeowners and “a measure to get into people’s pockets.”

For basement damage, the cost is borne by homeowners and their insurers. A massive thunderstorm that hit Toronto in July 2013 became one of Canada’s most expensive insured losses at almost $1 billion, mostly from sewer backup claims.

The head of one of Europe’s largest insurers recently warned the World Economic Forum that, if climate change advances, basements in some cities could be uninsurable, Bloomberg news agency reported.

But GTA homeowners have more options for flood coverage than ever because the risk is top of mind, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“Water is the new fire because, in the past, fire damage to someone’s home used to be the predominant peril or event that people wanted to protect their property or homes from,” said Pete Karageorgos, the bureau’s Ontario director of consumer and industry relations. “Now it’s water damage of all sorts, from plumbing fixtures and internal leaks, but now more so from external type of water,” that might require special coverage.

“People are recognizing there are severe weather events such as rainstorms that are occurring that are depositing larger amounts of rain in shorter amounts of time and impacting our communities.”


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Edmonton mayor tells UN conference cities can fight climate change alone

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says even if federal or regional governments are indifferent or hostile, municipal policies can influence at least 70 per cent of world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says cities can do a lot to fight climate change on their own.

Iveson was speaking at an international conference on the issue in his city.

He says even if federal or regional governments are indifferent or hostile, municipal policies can influence at least 70 per cent of world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Although United States President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change accord, Iveson says more than 400 American mayors are still on board.

The conference, run by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, wraps up on Wednesday.

The conference’s findings will be part of the panel’s special report on cities and climate change.


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Mississauga teen who admitted to NYC terror plot asks for ‘second chance’

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

In the letter filed to a New York court on Friday, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy outlined his personal history with addiction and mental illness, and explained that he felt American airstrikes against the Middle East drove him to jihadism.

A Canadian who admitted to plotting a terrorist attack on New York City is pleading for “a second chance” in a letter submitted to the court ahead of his upcoming sentencing.

In the letter filed to a New York court on Friday, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy of Mississauga outlined his personal history with addiction and mental illness, and explained that he felt American airstrikes against the Middle East drove him to jihadism.

The 20-year-old wrote that he felt that Americans were trying to disrupt the lives of people in the Middle East with airstrikes and he thought “it was appropriate to use similar methods back until and unless they stop.”

The 24-page handwritten letter, addressed to the judge in his case and partially redacted, is part of a package his lawyers submitted ahead of his sentencing for multiple terrorism-related charges that he pleaded guilty to last year.

El Bahnasawy described his disenfranchisement with western society, including “so-called democracy and freedom.”

He said he chose to go to the U.S. to carry out the plan because Canada had recently stopped its airstrikes, “and it didn’t make sense to transgress back against them in such a way.”

Police secretly arrested El Bahnasawy, then 18, in what they said was a plot by Daesh sympathizers to attack New York City concert venues, subway stations and Times Square. He was arrested after travelling from Canada to New Jersey in 2016. The records in his case were sealed for more than a year as police tried to hunt down his accomplices.

Authorities announced the charges against him after two other suspects were arrested in Pakistan and the Philippines.

The Canadian didn’t discuss the specifics of the plot in the letter, instead focusing on why he decided to go to such extremes.

“My detailed reasons about this is in no way a justification for it, I merely am explaining my thought process at the time,” he wrote, adding that he no longer believes extremism is the answer.

“There are many issues in this world but I don’t want to lose my life or freedom to try fixing them, and I definitely do not want to resort to violence or harm to fix them. I sincerely apologize for my (behaviour) and I only ask for a second chance.”

El Bahnasawy also used the letter to outline his struggles with addiction and mental illness, including several trips into hospital psychiatric wards and rehab centres. He said he spent a month in a psych ward in Kuwait, and eight months in rehab in Egypt. Court records show he also spent time at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

“I want to experience life away from drugs and away from war and violence,” he wrote.

He wrote that he wondered where he would be if anyone who knew about his plans had encouraged him to find a more productive way to fight the injustice he saw in the world.

The young man’s lawyers, in a submission included in the package with the letter, requested the judge impose a sentence “no greater than necessary to comply with (the law).”

They suggested that his release might coincide with “the onset of Abdulrahman’s mid-twenties when his cognitive development will be complete.”

El Bahnasawy’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 9.


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Let youth start voting at 16, urges Liberal MPP in private members’ bill.

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

The voting age should be lowered to 16 to boost turnout in elections and engage youth, Liberal MPP says

The voting age should be lowered two years to 16 to boost turnout in elections and engage youth better, backbench Liberal MPP Arthur Potts proposes in a new private members’ bill.

Scotland and Argentina are among the countries allowing teens to cast ballots at that age, when many are taking on other responsibilities such as getting behind the wheel of a car, Potts (Beaches-East York) said Monday.

“They can drive. They can work,” Potts told a news conference at Queen’s Park. “This proposal is not a stretch from where we are today.”

The push follows a panel discussion on voter engagement of young people attended by 300 people at Ryerson University last week, moderated by Star Queen’s Park columnist and visiting professor Martin Regg Cohn.

To address the phenomenon of low voter turnout at just 51 per cent in the 2014 provincial election, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner advocated a voting age of 16 to “build a lifelong habit” of heading to the polls.

Potts said voting at 16 comes with the advantage that teens can discuss their choices at home with parents or at high school in civics classes, and this provides valuable support and a good sounding board.

“I think they’re quite capable of making a reasoned choice for a political party,” he added, noting two high schools in his riding already hold mock elections to mirror real-world elections.

“I can’t imagine a downside.”

When it comes to policies on climate change and other issues, “they have the most at stake,” he said of teens.

Potts acknowledged he will not get a slot for the bill to be introduced and debated before the Legislature rises for the June 7 provincial election, but pledged to revive it if voters return him to Queen’s Park. He hopes to spur public debate on the idea.

“We’ll see how people respond.”

Opposition parties expressed interest in the idea.

Deputy Progressive Conservative leader Steve Clark, who was elected mayor of Brockville at 22, said he’s always been focussed on getting young people more engaged in the political process.

“Any measure that gets young people involved needs serious consideration by the three parties,” he told reporters.

“It’s worthwhile having a conversation about,” added New Democrat MPP Teresa Armstrong (London-Fanshawe).

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NDP Leader Andrea Horwath welcomes campaign boss back after probe into handling of harassment complaints

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

Michael Balagus left Queen’s Park amid accusations he didn’t take women’s complaints about a groping cabinet minister seriously under Manitoba premiers Doer and Selinger.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is welcoming her campaign boss back into the fold three weeks after forcing him to take a leaveover concerns he mishandled sexual harassment cases while he was chief of staff to two Manitoba premiers.

Michael Balagus, hired as a veteran hand and “fixer” after the New Democrats lost the balance of power in the 2014 Ontario election, will return to work next week, officials in Horwath’s office said Thursday.

Balagus left Queen’s Park on Feb. 9 amid accusations he didn’t take “seriously” women’s complaints about a groping cabinet minister who served under premiers Gary Doer and Greg Selinger.

But one of the women, who said she was the victim of inappropriate touching and sexual comments from cabinet minister Stan Struthers, quickly slammed Horwath for the decision.

“I believe Michael Balagus was a major reason this behaviour was allowed to perpetuate in the NDP,” former New Democrat press secretary Joelle Saltel-Allard said in a statement tweeted by CBC Winnipeg.

“He instilled a culture of fear and exerted considerable control over staff and their livelihoods. It’s clear Andrea Horwath doesn’t understand the full implications of the role he played in allowing sexual misconduct in Manitoba.”

In a statement, Horwath credited Balagus, who is also her chief of staff, with implementing anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies for all New Democrat MPPs and employees at Queen’s Park since his arrival four years ago.

“I’m confident in Michael’s ability to lead our team,” she added, but noted the situation in Manitoba should have been handled better.

 “Michael recognizes and takes responsibility for the fact that the systems in place at the time let these women down.”

“It is a chief of staff’’s responsibility to ensure that employees are able to work in a safe environment.”

Balagus acknowledged in a statement that “these women were left believing they weren’t listened to, and that they had no recourse.

“I must take my share of responsibility,” he said. “I apologize to them, and to everyone on our team for this.”

One of the Manitoba government employees told CBC Winnipeg earlier his month she reported problems with Struthers to Balagus when she quit in 2011 after Struthers allegedly attempted to shove her foot in his crotch.

“I sat down across from him (Balagus) and told him to his face,” the public broadcaster quoted Shannon VanRaes as saying.

Other women say Struthers tickled them and made inappropriate remarks. In one case, he allegedly put his hand on Saltel-Allard’s knee and talked about sex acts he would enjoy. She complained to her boss.

Struthers has since apologized after more allegations surfaced.

“Events in Manitoba underline that these issues require our full attention and our full commitment,” Balagus said Thursday.

Horwath’s decision to reinstate him comes as the NDP prepares for the June 7 provincial election, while the Progressive Conservatives fight a leadership race in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal around ousted leader Patrick Brown, who denies the allegations and is also under investigation by Ontario’s integrity commissioner over his personal finances.


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From hostage training exercises to mobile grocery stores, retired TTC vehicles put to good use

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

 “It’s a win-win for everyone,” a TTC spokesperson said of the vehicle donations, which have gone everywhere from Sudan to Liberia to right here at home.

From mobile grocery stores to hostage rescue training, donated TTC vehicles are being used in new — and unexpected — ways.

“Donating vehicles allows us to help local charities, emergency services and other cities, and to preserve TTC history,” said TTC spokesperson Stuart Green. “It’s a win-win for everyone and, wherever possible, we try to fulfil these requests.”

Green said the TTC receives around three to five donation requests a year. Donating the vehicles serves as an alternative to selling or scrapping the vehicles after they’re decommissioned.

Requests are considered on an individual basis and require approval from the TTC’s CEO. The vehicles are stripped of logos, Presto equipment and the bus stop announcement system before they’re donated free of charge.

In December, the TTC donated a bus to Hygiene on Wheels to create a mobile shower and laundry facility to serve Toronto’s homeless.

Vehicles have even gone overseas, to the Republic of Liberia’s Ministry of Transport and South Sudan’s capital city, Juba.

The Belka Enrichment Center turned a bus into a mobile computer lab and the Toronto Transportation Society received a bus for preservation and historical purposes.

FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit centred around healthy food and food education, transformed two donated Wheel-Trans vehicles into Mobile Good Food Markets.

The mobile markets travel to 10 different locations across Toronto and sell low-cost and “beautiful, fresh produce,” executive director Paul Taylor said.

FoodShare delivered more than 72,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit to nearly 7,000 people across Toronto in 2016.

“If you don’t have a lot of money for transit . . . and there’s a vehicle that shows up with beautiful, fresh produce through this travelling community market, it really saves you some money,” Taylor said.

Because of the mobile market’s “real roots” in the communities it serves, Taylor said the program can be responsive to its clients’ wants and needs.

“(If) someone jumps on the Mobile Good Food Market, and says, you know, I can’t find okra anywhere, or I can’t find my scotch bonnet peppers anywhere, then what we do is purchase some okra or scotch bonnet peppers,” he said. “And that’s on the vehicle the next time we’re around.”

The mobile markets look “completely different” from TTC Wheel-Trans vehicles that you’d spot on the street, Taylor said.

“It’s been completely redesigned,” he said. “Inside of it, we have shelving for the produce. I don’t think you’d recognize it as a former Wheel-Trans vehicle.”

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority received two full-size buses from the TTC in December.

Both buses will be used for training purposes, according to Phillip Bott, division chief in the GTAA’s fire training division.

The first bus will be used to simulate a high-occupancy vehicle that’s been involved in a motor vehicle crash for fire training students.

“The second bus is going to be coupled with a Boeing 737 aircraft that we have in the training area,” Bott said. “So it will be simulating that we have a passenger transport vehicle on the airfield and then we can have it simulated that it ran into the aircraft.”

The bus will also be used for mimicking police operations and fire rescues.

“It could be that there was a perpetrator on the bus and a hostage situation,” Bott said. “We could use it for an additional spot where firefights have to search and potentially provide rescue.”

The GTAA buses still resemble transit vehicles, Bott said.

“Basically the only thing that has been removed from it is the change box,” he said. “Other than that, the seats are there, the handles are there, everything is present.”


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Tumbling Toronto home sales signal a return to normal market, say analysts

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

Convergence of higher rates, government policy and new mortgage rules hit home sales. But that doesn’t mean homes are more affordable.

The numbers are coming and they won’t be pretty.

That’s what data-tracking realtor John Pasalis expects when the Toronto Real Estate Board issues its official February home sales statistics next week.

Although prices appear relatively flat, house sales were down about 40 per cent over the last two weeks in the Toronto area compared to the same period in 2017, while condo sales dropped about 30 per cent, said Pasalis, president of Toronto’s Realosophy brokerage.

The market has been hit by a confluence of policies: Ontario’s Fair Housing Policy, including a foreign buyers’ tax aimed at cooling the market; a new mortgage stress test targeted at protecting Canadians from dangerously high household debt levels; and the Bank of Canada’s moves to increase interest rates.

Is it a correction? Yes. Over-correction? No way, says Pasalis.

He’s among those who say that the Ontario government had to act to cool the market when it peaked at more than 30 per cent year-over-year price growth last April.

But if the government’s aim was to enhance affordability, that hasn’t happened and, given the short supply of housing and the booming Toronto-area population, it’s difficult to see how government intervention will help, say analysts and economists.

Unlike those who blame the fevered real-estate market of 2016 and early 2017 on mismatched supply and demand, Pasalis thinks there was another factor in the extraordinary climb — too much speculation.

 “There was a bubble in the housing market. Speculative buying was rampant, especially in York Region, and York Region is the area that is getting hit the hardest,” he said.

Real estate sales that now appear so disastrous compared to 2017 and 2016 are actually just returning to normal.

“It’s just the market moving back to where it should have been had all this speculation not happened,” said Pasalis, who thinks sales could end up somewhere back at pre-2015 levels this year.

The provincial policies and the mortgage stress test are causing buyers to sit back and take a breath, said David Amborski, chair of Ryerson’s Centre for Urban Research and Land Development. But he expects sales to return to a normally busy spring level.

“It’s not going to go back to the old boom, but it’s going to normalize — level out,” he said.

The hand-wringing over real estate is generally “much ado about nothing,” and it is almost certainly temporary, said Peter Norman, chief economist with Altus Group, the research company that tracks new construction home sales.

The economic fundamentals, including “incredible job growth last year,” along with the huge influx of population into the GTA — plus household income growth “that has been kind of nascent since the recession” of 2008-09 — mean that the Toronto market will lift, he said.

“Job growth pushes kids out of their parents’ basements and it encourages existing renters to move to home ownership and it encourages existing owners to move up the ladder as well. That’s the key piece and often with a bit of a lag,” said Norman, who expects interest rates to stabilize this year and prices to rise by 5 per cent by the end of 2018.

“At times when we’ve had a terrible real estate market in the city — 1991 to 1995 for example; in a brief way in 2009 — it has always been related to external economic shock. It’s the economics that really drive the market, it’s not the financial conditions. The financial conditions just make people re-adjust how and where they buy,” he said.

The current decline in sales could, in the end, actually improve affordability, if falling sales moderate prices, said Sheila Block, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“If you believe we have been in a speculative bubble, bursting those bubbles is never smooth,” she said.

So far, none of the housing or financial policies have done anything to improve affordability. But if governments — federal, provincial and municipal — took a more co-ordinated approach to addressing affordable housing needs, that could ultimately ripple up the line to the middle-income supply, she said.

Given the region’s affordability challenge, it’s possible that more middle-income households will need to reconsider home ownership, as costs here are relatively high. “Affordable stable rental supply might be something that regular, middle-class people need to look at,” she said.

Even price drops such as the 4.4 per cent year-over-year decline that the Toronto Real Estate Board reported in January, are a result of statistics that are skewed by last year’s “out of whack” Toronto region market, said Dana Senagama, an analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Yes, prices have started to slow down but it’s coming off an unsustainable peak,” she said.

The current cooling also has not solved the problem of over-valuation that CMHC has flagged in the Toronto area. “The fundamental flaws are still there,” said Senagama, who admits that it’s not clear that the basic supply-and-demand issue is solvable as a prosperous region continues to attract immigrants and workers.

Density — packing more people into less space — is one answer to the affordability issue, but even there, the high-density high-rise housing supply mostly made up of condos is getting tighter, driving up prices, she noted.

“One way to counteract that is to have more rental supply,” said Senagama. But while there are signs of renewal on the purpose-built rental side, there’s a trend to luxury rental. And even then, the level of supply does not approach that of new condos.

Moving to more mid-rise and wood-frame construction could help bring down the price of building rental, she said.

In some ways, the housing supply problem is a by-product of the Toronto region’s success, said Senagama.

“This is something that’s not unique to us,” she said, citing cities such as New York, London and Tokyo.

“We know what is creating these pressures. Any city that tends to receive a lot of people and that is growing, these are problems.”


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Ministers responsible for Immigration and the Canadian Francophonie announce joint Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration

Posted on 07 March 2018 by admin

TORONTO (ON) – Building on the momentum from the first Forum on Francophone Immigration in 2017 in New Brunswick, federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for immigration and for the Canadian Francophonie discussed concrete actions today to increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec.

Francophone immigration contributes to the country’s prosperity and is an important part of the country’s immigration strategies to support the growth and vitality of Francophone minority communities across Canada.

Federal Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen and Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Laura Albanese, co-chairs of the meeting, together with other provincial and territorial ministers, announced a new federal-provincial-territorial FPT Action Plan for Increasing Francophone Immigration Outside of Quebec. The Action Plan outlines actions that federal, provincial and territorial governments can take individually or collaboratively to increase Francophone immigration.

Examples of concrete actions in the Action Plan include:

•         Promoting awareness of Francophone immigration opportunities, immigration pathways and settlement services to prospective French-speaking applicants;

•         Increasing employer engagement in French-speaking immigrant recruitment and employment;

•         Increasing the availability, awareness and accessibility of French language services; and

•         Supporting diverse and inclusive Francophone communities.

The Action Plan supports the following outcomes:

•         an increased number of French-speaking immigrants settling in Canada outside Quebec;

•         an increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in local labour markets; and

•         an increased participation rate of French-speaking immigrants in broader communities and social networks.

Ministers agreed that the tracking of progress to achieve the objectives laid out in the Action Plan will be key. To this end, ministers committed to develop appropriate indicators and to foster the ongoing sharing of best practices to enable the reporting of progress over time. They will also continue to share progress periodically with each other and the community.

Following the Forum, a Symposium will be held with community organizations to act as a catalyst for broader stakeholder engagement and lay the foundation for potential collaborative actions within each jurisdiction. The Symposium will be organized by the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie and will take place on March 22 in Calgary.

The Forum on Francophone Immigration is an opportunity for federal, provincial and territorial immigration and Francophonie ministers to meet and share ideas on how to encourage and promote Francophone immigration to Francophone minority communities in Canada.

Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec fully assumes sole responsibility for establishing immigration levels, and for the selection, francization and integration of immigrants. In areas under its responsibility, Quebec develops its policies and programs, legislates, regulates and sets its own standards.


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