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Canadian Housing Markets Not Named Vancouver or Toronto are Showing Signs of Life



Most of the country’s housing markets heated up in June, according to new data that shows Toronto and Vancouver continue to heavily influence the national average, but aren’t alone in making gains.

While much of the house price acceleration conversation has been about Canada’s two most expensive cities for homes, the Teranet and National Bank of Canada House Price Index released Wednesday, showed strong price growth in nine out of 11 markets — growth being delivered by long-term mortgage rates that are closing in on two per cent.

“That’s the story. Except for Calgary and Edmonton, and we know the economy is struggling there, June was above historical norms,” said Matthieu Arseneau senior economist with National Bank.

Existing home prices across the country rose 2.3 per cent in June from May, aided by Vancouver and Toronto which recorded a 2.6 per cent and 3.3 per cent gains respectively. But other parts of the country are also beginning to show life.

In one month, Victoria was up 4.4 per cent, Halifax saw a 3.7 per cent gain and Ottawa-Gatineau rose 2.6 per cent. Quebec’s housing market is showing signs of price growth, slight as it was: Prices rose 1.7 per cent in Quebec City in June, compared to May, and Montreal was up one per cent during the same period.

“It’s tough to conclude with one month of data and it may be early to call but we are seeing a change,” says Arseneau, who credits the record low interest rates for long-term mortgages with stimulating the rest of the country.

The Bank of Canada did not move on its overnight lending rate Wednesday, effectively leaving floating rates the same, but as long-term bond yields continue to drop around the world so to have mortgage rates. says the lowest five-year mortgage is now 2.29 per cent, driven by five-year government of Canada bond yields that are around 0.5 per cent.

Phil Soper, chief executive of Royal LePage, says rates continue to boost housing in many parts of the country, but Toronto and Vancouver have so much more going on to drive their housing markets. The Teranet price index was up 23.4 per cent in Vancouver and 12.4 in Toronto in June compared to a year ago.

“I’d call Vancouver the least healthy housing market in Canada,” Soper said. “There are two main drivers that don’t exist (beyond Vancouver and Toronto). One is the accelerating economy, the employment and immigration. Those are economic conditions for strong consumer confidence. But you also have geographic and regulatory restrictions on supply you don’t have elsewhere.”

Soper is paying very close attention to Quebec.

“If you look at the last couple of releases from us, I’ve called out Quebec as a shining light in our outlook,” he said. “The Greater Montreal numbers aren’t amazing if you compare them to Vancouver, but at 3.5 per cent (LePage’s predicted annual price growth) it’s one of the strongest performances in Quebec in some time.”

Montreal’s relative strength seems to be coming without the benefit of foreign investors, which is said to be a major driver of the housing market in Toronto and even more so in Vancouver. A report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. released Wednesday said those overseas investors are at low levels in Quebec’s largest city.

The surge in Canadian household debt makes it very clear that this is a domestically generated mania

“The presence of foreign investors in the Montreal real estate market is relatively low and concentrated in the condominium segment, especially in the central areas of Montreal,” said Francis Cortellino, principal market analyst for Quebec urban centres with CMHC.

The Crown corporation says just 1.3 per cent of condominium owners in the Montreal census metropolitan area were foreign owners, though the number was 4.9 per cent in downtown Montreal.

Paul Ashworth, chief North America economist with Capital Economics, says the idea that foreign buyers are driving Toronto and Vancouver housing is “complete nonsense” and the annual gains in those cities are not justified.

“There is also almost no hard evidence that foreign buyers are the cause. The surge in Canadian household debt makes it very clear that this is a domestically generated mania,” he said. “With interest rates at record lows, lenders have been more than willing to extend mortgage amortization periods and to push the loan-to-income ratio on those loans up to unprecedented levels.”

Those rates don’t appear to be heading down anytime soon, according to Alyssa Furtado, chief executive of “There hasn’t been much movement on fixed rates, they’ve been low for some time,” she said. “The fact they haven’t moved has fuelled home prices.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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