CMHC eyeing ‘new tools’ as mortgage deferral cliff looms for borrowers

Banks & Bank of Canada DAZADA DIAMOND 29 Jul

CMHC eyeing ‘new tools’ as mortgage deferral cliff looms for borrowers

This fall, loan payments unemployed borrowers kicked down the road must start being repaid again, plus interest

With a six-month window for some borrowers to defer their loan payments closing fast, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says “new tools” may be needed to help homeowners get through the coronavirus crisis.

CMHC says it has already provided lenders with tools to help struggling households, including deferred mortgage payments for up to six months, extended repayment periods and the ability to add missed payments to a mortgage balance and spread them out over the repayment period.




But homeowners who decided to postpone repayment back in March may be done or nearly done their payment holiday, which the CMHC suggests may require further action on its part.

“As the end of the initial six-month deferral period from the beginning of the pandemic approaches, we recognize the need to continue to monitor this diligently and potentially develop new tools with our partners to help Canadians during this unprecedented pandemic,” the mortgage-insuring Crown corporation said in an emailed statement. “This work is ongoing and we will provide Canadians with updates as they become available.”

Canada’s biggest banks have authorized customers to put off payments on more than $180 billion in mortgages and home equity lines of credit because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Big Six banks have offered deferrals on more than $180 billion in mortgages so far

The CMHC’s comments come ahead of a debt-deferral “cliff” the agency has warned Canada is facing this fall, when loan payments unemployed borrowers may have kicked down the road must start being repaid again, plus interest. CMHC President and CEO Evan Siddall even cautioned that up to one-fifth of all mortgages could fall into arrears if the economy doesn’t rebound.

That cliff, and the need in some cases to extend deferral periods, remain the biggest concerns among credit unions, said Michael Hatch, vice president of government relations for the Canadian Credit Union Association.

“CMHC is obviously aware of that,” Hatch said in an interview. “They’re looking at what the options might be from that angle and we hope that they’re able to put something together soon because that timeline is approaching.”

The CCUA said in June it had participated in a consultation with CMHC about what to do about COVID-19-related mortgage deferrals. The industry group also said it had surveyed credit unions to get their views on the existing toolkit CMHC has to manage mortgage defaults, including mortgage-payment deferrals with no offsetting prepayments.

A summary of the survey of the 66 credit unions said some of the financial institutions did not view the six-month deferral period for mortgage payments as “sufficient,” and wanted it extended further. Fifteen credit unions that responded, or approximately 22.7 per cent of those surveyed, had concerns about the deferrals.

Some credit unions did not view the six-month deferral period for mortgage payments as “sufficient,” and wanted it extended further. Cole Burston/Bloomberg files

“If credit union members are unemployed for longer than 6 months, mortgages will begin to become delinquent,” the report adds.

The survey report also noted that the CMHC — which insures mortgages in case borrowers default on the loans — is “considering expanding” four tools to prevent COVID-19-related mortgage defaults, and asks if that’s the right move.

Those four tools mentioned for possible expansion were: extended amortization and amortization periods (the former, Hatch said, likely referred to extending payment deferrals), special payment arrangements and adding missed payments to a mortgage balance (something known as “capitalization”).

A CMHC spokesperson said in an email that it was “premature” for the agency to discuss specific outcomes of their ongoing conversations with lenders and other mortgage insurers.

CMHC President and CEO Evan Siddall. Brent Lewin/Bloomberg files

But according to the CCUA’s findings, a large majority of credit unions were in favour of expanding the CMHC default-management tools. No option received less than 78.79 per cent support for its expansion.

“The comments opposing the expanded tools viewed them as increasing systemic risk, and not being necessary since existing tools are sufficient,” the report said.

Australia and the United Kingdom have recently taken steps to permit longer deferral periods for mortgage payments, meaning it would not be a “stretch” if something similar were to happen here, said Paul Taylor, the president and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada.

That said, if Canada were to follow suit, borrowers may need to provide more details to prove they do indeed need to keep deferring.

“The banks were so inundated with requests when the initial announcements were made that they had no operational options but to grant it to everyone,” Taylor said in an email. “I expect the qualification criteria will be much more stringent (read: there will actually be one) for requests come October.”

Banks in Toronto’s financial district. Brent Lewin/Bloomberg files

Banks and credit unions have already allowed hundreds of thousands of payment deferrals. However, there is an expectation among some lenders that policymakers will continue supporting them if they need to keep supporting borrowers who have lost income during the pandemic, said Rob McLister, the founder of mortgage-comparison website

“Whether that means direct government backstopping of distressed mortgages, leniency with capital requirements, flexibility with how lenders must account for missed payments, or something else, it’s too early to tell,” McLister added in an email. “The result will likely be the same: Consumers who’ve lost income due to the pandemic will be offered continued flexibilities by most lenders through year-end, at least.”

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, a federal banking regulator, has said that payment deferrals granted during the initial six-month period should not lead to that loan being deemed as non-performing, or not being paid back. As a result, banks don’t have to hold more capital just because a loan’s payments have been deferred.

OSFI has said this capital treatment will only apply for payment deferrals up to six months, but that it will “revisit this treatment in the future as needed.”

Financial Post


Insolvency levels being kept in check by home prices, aid programs – Bank of Canada

Banks & Bank of Canada DAZADA DIAMOND 28 Jul

Insolvency levels being kept in check by home prices, aid programs – Bank of Canada

Insolvency levels being kept in check by home prices, aid programs – Bank of CanadaCanadian home prices are seeing considerable recovery recently, becoming a significant factor in keeping households liquid amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bank of Canada.

Slowing insolvency growth has been driven by government and industry initiatives such as financial aid and mortgage payment postponements, said Mikael Khan, director of financial stability at BoC.

“The fact that deferrals have been available is really, really important,” Khan told The Canadian Press. “Ultimately what matters most when it comes to defaults is people having a job, having their incomes. What the deferrals are doing is they’re essentially buying time for that process to unfold.”

These developments accompanied noticeable growth in the mortgage segment, along with a more modest uptick in household debt. Data from the central bank showed that overall mortgage credit stood at a record high of $1.68 trillion in May with a 6% annual increase, while household credit was at $2.29 trillion with 3.6% year-over-year growth.

Khan said that the market should not lose sight of the possible dangers once the benefits have run their course, however.

“When it comes to bumpiness in the recovery … this question that has been in the background of most of our discussions is, ‘To what extent will we see defaults or insolvencies?’” Khan said. “I think it’s reasonable to expect some sort of increase. What we’d be concerned about, there, is a very large-scale increase.”


Financial Stress Index finds Canadians more worried about money than relationships, work, health

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 27 Jul

Financial Stress Index finds Canadians more worried about money than relationships, work, health

Financial Stress Index finds Canadians more worried about money than relationships, work, healthA recent survey by financial planning firm FP Canada has found that stress related to money outweighs worries around relationships, work and health for Canadians. That won’t come as a surprise to mortgage brokers, but the firm’s most recent Financial Stress Index contained a few surprising nuggets of information: Canadians are actually less worried about their finances than they were in 2018, and more than half of respondents in most areas of the country said their level of financial stress has not been impacted by COVID-19.

In 2020, 38 percent of the Canadians surveyed said money is their greatest source of stress, with 25 percent choosing health, 21 percent work and 16 percent relationships. Two years ago, 42 percent chose money, while 22 percent said personal health. The increase in Canadians saying health is a greater worry makes a fair bit of sense when the country is still dealing with its share of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that the widespread financial disruption experienced during the pandemic hasn’t caused financial worries to spike should be taken as a positive indicator.

When the findings are broken down by age, financial worries are greatest for the three youngest generations studied – millennials (44 percent), young Gen Xers (44 percent) and older Gen Xers (40 percent). Money was the main concern for only 37 percent of Canadians aged 55-64 and for 25 percent of those 65-plus.

The Index broke financial worries down into several categories and found that bills, debt, income stability and rent/mortgage payments were the biggest stressors for younger Canadians. Each category worried at least 36 percent of survey respondents, with bills (48 percent) taking top spot. For older Canadians, the greatest worry was saving enough for retirement.

A difference in earnings had little impact on individual levels of financial stress. An equal percentage of Canadians making $40,000 to $79,000 and those making over $80,000 – one-third – all chose money as their major stressor, although half of people making less than $40,000 rank money as their main source of anxiety.

The only region where more than 50 percent of Canadians felt their level of financial stress was impacted by COVID-19 was Alberta. In Quebec only 36 percent of respondents say the pandemic has increased their level of worry. Forty-seven percent of women said their level of stress has been affected by COVID-19, compared to 41 percent of men.

Impacts of financial stress
Half of the survey respondents said financial stress has impacted their lives in a negative way. Sixty percent of under-35s and 46 percent of those over 35 all reported experiencing either health issues (18 percent), relationship problems (15 percent), reduced productivity (14 percent) or family disputes (13 percent) related to financial stress. An additional 10 percent say they have experienced substance abuse or mental health issues.

FP Canada, in a not-so-subtle bit of self-promotion, compared the stress levels of Canadians who use financial planners to those who don’t. The company found that 53 percent of those working with a financial planner said financial stress does not impact their life. The data can be taken with a grain of salt, but if the numbers are accurate, enlisting the services of a financial planner may be a topic worth discussing the next time a client looks like he hasn’t slept or eaten in a week.

Monitoring a homeowner’s stress levels is something a broker must be willing to do. If clients seem to be teetering on the brink of collapse, encouraging them to find a healthy way to decompress can be an important first step toward improving their frame of mind.

“When people learn how to decompress in healthy ways and manage the difficult emotions that come with financial stress, they’re in a physiologically and psychologically calmer space to have better problem-solving abilities,” says clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Moira Somers. Once their emotions are brought under control, these individuals will then be in a position to tackle the issues at the root of their stress.

“People do best when they engage in a combination of the two strategies,” Somers says. “Focusing exclusively on either the problem itself or the settling of emotions can prevent people from making good decisions and then taking appropriate action.”


Skyrocketing inflation in June: A sign of economic recovery?

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 24 Jul

Skyrocketing inflation in June: A sign of economic recovery?

Skyrocketing inflation in June: A sign of economic recovery?Latest figures from Statistics Canada indicated that Canada’s annual inflation rate in June saw a near-decade-high increase to 0.7% from a 0.4% decline in May, in the wake of late-spring reopenings nationwide.

The consensus of economists surveyed by Reuters was that the increase pointed to an economy gradually regaining its footing, amid the continued ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s consistent with an economy that was almost completely shut down in many ways in April but is beginning to heal over the past few months,” said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets.

However, this recovery might find itself tapering off once federal financial assistance programs end.

“There is some pent up demand there. Our guess is we’ll start to see some of that dissipate,” said Mark Chandler, managing director at RBC Capital Markets.

Much of the recovery is attributable to greater strength seen in the energy, food, automotive, and apparel segments, StatsCan said.

A separate StatsCan report earlier this month said that household savings, having reached a near-20-year high of 6.1% in the first quarter, might prove instrumental in further economic recovery.

MNP Debt recently said that this pre-pandemic strength carried a significant number of Canadians through the worst of the coronavirus outbreak’s impact.


StatCan’s New Housing Price Index points to resiliency, new engines in Canadian market

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 23 Jul

StatCan’s New Housing Price Index points to resiliency, new engines in Canadian market

StatCanYesterday, Statistics Canada released its New Housing Price Index for June of 2020. The highly awaited release noted both a slight increase in new home prices nationwide and a potential sea change in the geography of Canadian housing demand.

Nationwide, StatCan found that new house prices rose 0.1% from May 2020 and 1.3% from June 2019. New home prices in the St. Catharines-Niagara region saw the single largest monthly increase at 1%. Other smaller, more affordable housing markets outside of major urban centres, such as Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Kelowna saw similar growth. The prairie provinces saw a decline in new housing prices, with Regina declining by half a percentage point and Edmonton dropping by 0.2%.

In terms of major markets, StatCan found that home prices in Toronto were flat from May to June, with the Index rising only 0.2% year over year. Prices in Ottawa continued their rapid growth, with price increases of 0.2% in June and 10.4% since last year. Vancouver only grew by 0.1% from May to June and has actually seen its year over year new home price fall by 0.7%. Montreal, where new home prices grew 8.1% year-over-year, appears to still be on pace for a solid 2020. The Index in Calgary, conversely, fell by 0.1% in June and 0.6% year over year.

Atlantic Canada showed strength in the StatCan report, led by Halifax’s 0.5% monthly increase in June and 2.3% price increase year over year. New Brunswick’s three major markets, Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, saw a combined 2.3% increase year over year, but prices were flat from May to June. Charlottetown, too, held steady in June, but the Index increased an impressive by 1.5% since last year. The only year-over-year decline in the region was St. John’s, Newfoundland, which saw the Index shrink by 0.1% since last year.

Will ex-urbs drive the market?
Analysts told MBN that the numbers point to strength and resiliency in the Canadian housing market, as well as a significant shift towards ex-urbs as homebuyers in a world of remote work realize how much more they can get for their money.

“I think this is a sea change,” Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist at DLC, says of growing demand in suburbs and smaller housing markets.

“I believe in the post pandemic world we’ll see more remote employment. Not everyone will just march back to the downtown cores of the major cities,” she says, noting the lack of appetite some city residents now have for downtown living – public transit, crowded elevators – in a post pandemic world. “I think that many more people will be able to work from home at least part-time. Given that housing outside the core is that much cheaper, people will take advantage and be able to get more for their money.”

Cooper says that while we’ve not seen many completions in these ex-urban markets lately, a great deal of construction is already in progress and likely to accelerate in response to the increasing demand. She says that developers, too, will see opportunity in cheaper land that they can turn into new units, outfitted for designated at-home workspaces.

She says that condo developments, too, are likely to take on a more multi-family outlook, reflecting development markets in other countries. Cooper thinks more Canadian condominiums will include amenities like play areas for kids.

Christopher Alexander, executive vice president and regional director for the Ontario-Atlantic region at RE/MAX Integra, agrees that the shift to working from home will see proximity to work take a backseat to personal and lifestyle desire in a homebuyer’s choices. He thinks smaller centres driving market-wide price increases, though, will turn out to be more of a blip than a fundamental shift.

“History has shown that thriving urban centers continue to grow, and it’s human nature to be close to other humans,” Alexander says. “I think that once a vaccine comes things will return to normal [in cities]. Some of the people who don’t love living in Toronto, for example, and only do it to be close to work will probably choose to live elsewhere. But people who want to be closer to the action will want to live closer to downtown cores once we get a handle on the virus.”

Alexander says that, overall, StatsCan’s new numbers point to a resiliency across most of Canada’s housing markets that is surprising all the experts. While he says people are “waiting to see” how the rest of the year shapes up, he points to white-hot recreational housing markets in Ontario as evidence that homebuyers feel secure enough in their incomes to now purchase second homes.

A resilient market is a chance for brokers
Cooper says news of resiliency in Canada’s key housing markets is good news for brokers. She is confident that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s dire forecasts of a 9-18% drop in home prices nationwide and substantial increases in delinquency rates are unlikely to happen. The circumstances of a lockdown, she says, have driven a change rather than a weakening in the drivers of Canada’s housing market. This change, she says, is an opportunity brokers should be taking.

“Many of these people will go to a mortgage broker because it’s becoming more and more common,” Cooper says, adding that record-low mortgage rates make now a “very good time” to buy.

“[Buyers] want help,” she says, “and the financial aspects of it are very complex. Buying a home is not a do-it-yourself project.”


Mortgage Deferrals ‘Buying Time’ For Canadians, Bank Of Canada Says

Down Payment & Buying DAZADA DIAMOND 22 Jul

Mortgage Deferrals ‘Buying Time’ For Canadians, Bank Of Canada Says

The pause in mortgage payments are giving people a chance to get back to work.

Andrew Chin/Getty Images
A view of Metro Vancouver is seen here at twilight on July 18, 2020, from Burnaby, B.C. Softening population growth from immigration could start to weaken house prices in the future.

TORONTO — A Bank of Canada economist says the current economic recovery could be different than the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.

Mikael Khan, the Bank of Canada’s director of financial stability, said that while the employment rate has fallen due to the pandemic, house prices are recovering and keeping homeowners from filing for insolvency.

Khan said breaks from mortgage payments have bought homeowners some time to get back to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

“The fact that these deferrals have been available is really, really important,” said Khan. “Ultimately, what matters most when it comes to defaults is people having a job, having their incomes. What the deferrals are doing is they’re essentially buying time for that process to unfold.”

Khan, who spoke at the Move Smartly Toronto Real Estate Summit on Monday, has been studying mortgage defaults. He compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a natural disaster, such as the 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., which also involved a mortgage deferral recovery plan.

Bank of Canada research found that while the wildfires caused a bigger spike in employment insurance filings than the 2008 recession, the EI trend reversed much faster after the fires than in 2008.

The 2008 conditions set off a lengthy recession due to “an underlying fragility in the global financial system,” the research suggested. But the wildfires, like the COVID-19 pandemic, were a sudden shock.

“One thing that’s always very important when you’re facing a large negative shock is the initial conditions,” said Khan.

“In Fort McMurray, when the wildfires hit, that’s an area that had already been struggling for some time with the decline in oil prices that had occurred about a year or so prior, so financial stress was quite high,” Khan said.

“Now, at the national level, what we’ve been concerned about for many, many years is the high level of household debt. That’s the No. 1 pre-existing condition that was there when the pandemic struck.”

While there are some parallels, the rebuilding process from a pandemic remains more uncertain compared to a wildfire, the research said. Khan cited increased savings rates as an example of a fundamental shift with potential to affect how quickly the economy recovers from COVID-19.

Over the past few months, some have warned that it could lead to a deferral cliff once benefits —such as Canada Emergency Response Benefit and mortgage deferrals — run out.

“When it comes to bumpiness in the recovery … this question that has been in the background of most of our discussions is, ‘To what extent will we see defaults or insolvencies?’” said Khan. “I think it’s reasonable to expect some sort of increase. What we’d be concerned about, there, is a very large-scale increase.”

Khan said that when a mortgage is in default, it can be caused by a “dual trigger” of both unemployment and large decline in house prices. Home prices in many areas have recovered since the start of the pandemic, Khan said. The job market’s recovery will be key to determining the impact of mortgage deferrals, said Bank of Canada research cited by Khan.

Softening population growth from immigration could start to weaken house prices in the future. But for now, Khan said, it wouldn’t make sense for homeowners with healthy home equity to file for insolvency.

“Even in cases where a homeowner simply can’t make their mortgage payments anymore — as long as they have equity in their homes and the housing market is relatively stable — there’s always the option to simply sell without kind of resorting to those sorts of measures,” said Khan.


BlackNorth Initiative Summit

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 21 Jul

The BlackNorth Initiative Summit Launches With Commitments From Over 200 Organizations Representing Over $1 Trillion in Market Cap; Over 3000 People in Attendance

Initiative provides a strong voice for Blacks in Canada and the power to combat anti-Black systemic racism.

TORONTO — The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism today announced the names of more than 200 organizations whose CEOs have signed the BlackNorth Initiative’s pledge committing their organizations to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism.

The names of the organizations, listed below, are being released ahead of the inaugural BlackNorth Initiative Summit, taking place, virtually, this afternoon, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (ET).

“Until now, Blacks have been left behind by the diversity movement in Canada. Today, that changes,” said Wes Hall, Founder and Chairman of The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism. “In just 47 days we have built the modern, Canadian version of the NAACP. The BlackNorth Initiative is purpose-built to be THE VOICE of Blacks and THE FORCE to drive measurable change for Blacks. Uniquely positioned, it has the reach, resources and approach needed to dismantle anti-Black systemic racism.”

The list of supporting organizations is extraordinarily diverse and spans companies of all sizes, industries and mandates, including; financial services, education, extractive industries, professional services, healthcare, online services, consulting, manufacturing, small to medium sized firms, business associations, private companies, and more.

Notably, 30% of the companies on the TSX 60 have signed the pledge and the total market cap of all committed organizations exceeds $1 trillion1, representing almost one-third of the TSX’s total market cap.

“I congratulate the companies listed below and their leaders who have committed to change by signing the CEO pledge. These organizations will also be ambassadors for the creation of a new Black-friendly and Black-enabling Canada – progressively attracting those people and organizations whose values align with the BlackNorth Initiative,” added Mr. Hall.

“Stay tuned – this is just the beginning.”

Companies that have not signed the pledge can still do so at


Donate to the BlackNorth Initiative here to help support the development of programs and initiatives to remove anti-Black systemic barriers negatively affecting the lives of Black Canadians. To get involved or to volunteer your time, please contact

About the BlackNorth Initiative:

The BlackNorth Initiative was created by TheCanadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism to combat anti-Black systemic racism in Corporate Canada. The initiative challenges senior Canadian business leaders to commit their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.

Companies whose CEOs have signed the BlackNorth Initiative pledge to end anti-Black racism include:

2Mi Holdings Corporation

9 Story Media Group Inc.

A Call to Action Canada

Accor S.A.

ACE Marketplace

Adgar Canada

Adidas Canada

Africa 118 Inc

Ahava Group Global

Air Canada

AMP Solar Group Inc.

Aphria Inc.

Atlantic Coated Papers Ltd.

Atlas 365 Inc.

AWOL Entertainment Limited

Bank of Montreal

BASF Canada Inc.


BeachHead Inc.

Beijing Huade Haiyang Science & Technology Co, Ltd.

Bellwyck Inc.

Beneplan Co-Operative

Bennett Jones LLP


Best Buy International

The Bigwin Group Inc.

Blackberry Ltd.

BlueSky Investment Capital LLC

Bridging Finance Inc.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc.

Business Council of Canada

Caldwell Partners

Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Cameco Corporation

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation

Canadian Business Growth Fund

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Canadian Film Centre

Canada Life

Canadian Western Bank

Canfor Corporation

Canopy Growth Corporation

Capital One Canada

CaptoCloud Inc.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

CCL Industries Inc.


CI Financial Corp.


Cineplex Inc.

Cisco Canada

City of Brampton – Anti-Black Racism Unit


Cleveland Clinic Canada

Coca-Cola Ltd.

Colliers International Group Inc.

Conros Corporation

Corus Entertainment Inc.

Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario

CPP Investments

Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

Dentsu Aegis Network

Dentsu Entertainment Canada

Desjardins Group

Dream Unlimited Corp.

Durham College

Egon Zehnder International Inc.

EllisDon Group of Companies

Entertainment One Ltd.

Enthusiast Gaming Holdings Inc.

EQ Inc.

Equitable Group Inc.

ESG Global Advisors Inc.

Ewing Morris & Co Investment Partners Ltd.

Export Development Canada

Ernst & Young LLP (Canada)

Facebook, Inc. and Instagram Canada

Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited

Field Trip Psychedelics Inc.

First Capital Real Estate Investment Trust

Fleet Complete

Foodmaestro Ltd.

ForaHealthyMe Inc.

Forthlane Partners

Fortis Inc.

Franco-Nevada Corporation

Gardiner Roberts LLP

GE Healthcare

Genipaper Inc.

Genworth MI Canada Inc.

Giant Tiger Stores Limited

Global Risk Institute in Financial Services

Godsoe Financial Capital Ltd.

Google Canada Corporation

Greater Toronto Airports Authority

Gryphon Advisors Inc.

Guloien Capital

Habitat for Humanity

Heidrick & Struggles Inc.

Hill + Knowlton Strategies (Canada)

HP Inc. (Canada)

HR-Connect Inc.

HSBC Bank Canada

Hudbay Minerals Inc.

Humber College

Hydro One Ltd.

IG Wealth Management

IGCE Merchant Capital Group Inc.

INFOR Financial Group Inc.

INNOV-8 Inc.

Intact Financial Corporation

Inter Pipeline Ltd.

InterRent REIT

Investment Planning Counsel Inc.


Jamieson Wellness Inc.

Kids Help Phone

Kingsdale Advisors

Kinross Gold Corporation

Knight Therapeutics Inc.

Kora Management Ltd.

KoreConX All-in One Platform

KPMG Canada

Lamb Creative Group

Lightspeed POS Inc.

Linamar Corporation

Mackenzie Investments

Maison Placement Canada Inc.

Manulife Financial Corporation

Maricann Inc.

McMillan LLP

The MedicAlert Foundation

Mercer U.S. & Canada

Mimis Rock Corp.


Molson Coors Beverage Company (MCBC)

National Bank of Canada

New Look Vision Group Inc.

Nichee Studio

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Nulogy Corporation

Oaza Capital

Obelysk Inc.

Ontario College of Art and Design

Ontario Cannabis Store

Odyssey Trust Company

Ontario Pension Board

Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Ontario Securities Commission

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)

Orange Capital Partners

Pan American Silver Corp.

Paramount Fine Foods Inc.

Pathways to Education

Patriot One Technologies Inc.

Peerage Capital Group

Pelmorex Corp.

Pethealth Inc.

Pink Larkin Law Firm

Proof Inc

Psigryph Inc

Pricewaterhouse Coopers Canada

QM Environmental

Reformulary Group

RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust

Retail Management Software (RMS)

Roadmap Capital Inc.

Rogers Communications Inc.

Roots Corporation

Rosin Executive Search Inc.

Sault Ste Marie Chamber of Commerce

Say Yeah Inc.


Sheridan College

Shift Health, Inc.

SickKids Foundation

SickKids Hospital

Sobeys Inc.

Spark Power Corp.

Stantec Inc.

Startlight Investments

Stelco Holdings Inc.

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Sun Life Financial Inc.

Sundial Growers Inc.

Superior Plus Corp

Sweet N Nice

Tangerine Bank

Teranga Gold Corporation

TELUS Corporation

The Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP)

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

The T1 Agency

Timbercreek Equities Corp.

Timbercreek Financial Corp.

Titan Capital Developments

Titan Supply

TorQuest Partners Inc.

Transoft Solutions Inc.

Tricon Residential Inc.

True Patriot Love Foundation

TWI Inc.

Wealthsimple Inc.

Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd.

Wheaton Precious Metals Corp.

Wildeboer Dellelce LLP

Women’s College Hospital Foundation

York University

1 Includes value of companies that have publicly committed to make changes in accordance with the BlackNorth Initiative pledge

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Andy Radia
Director, Communications and Marketing
Kingsdale Advisors
Ph: 416-867-2357

Vivek Prabhu
Senior Account Director
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Ph: 416-413-4578


What are Canada’s mortgage companies doing to promote diversity and fight racism? Not much

Banks & Bank of Canada DAZADA DIAMOND 20 Jul

What are Canada’s mortgage companies doing to promote diversity and fight racism? Not much

What are CanadaFrom either a moral or financial perspective, has there ever been a more opportune time for Canada’s mortgage companies to step up and put in place programs that educate their staff on racism, promote diversity, and work to eliminate the unintended biases we all carry around inside us? What better time than now to capitalize on people’s increased awareness of systemic racism, and increased willingness to look critically at their own beliefs? What better time for lenders and brokers to display to a generation of future mortgage-holders – who have proven to be more open-minded and willing to support companies based on their moral stances than previous generations – that they are all on the same page?

For many, providing racial sensitivity training in this day and age is just common sense: The world has evolved; should businesses not evolve, too? But it’s not so common in the Canadian mortgage space.

After attempting to engage Canada’s biggest mortgage companies in a conversation about the programs they use to ensure their employees are prepared to work in a diverse marketplace, Mortgage Broker News received input from two companies. Of those two, only one has made education around diversity and inclusion mandatory for its employees.

“It’s a new frequency,” says DS Sheppard, Equitable Bank’s equity, diversity and inclusion specialist.

“Organizations are realizing that having an inclusion-specific person is far beyond a tip of the hat or a nice-to-have. It’s critical to employee engagement for people to feel seen, heard, honoured and celebrated for who they are. That’s a win for your organization.”

For the past year, Sheppard has been shaping the diversity education Equitable provides its employees. When they first arrived at the company, Sheppard saw that Equitable’s senior leadership had already gone all-in on creating a diverse and sensitive workforce. For a program like theirs to work, Shep says top-down leadership is a must.

“It has to be your most senior leaders, your CEOs, your senior vice presidents,” they say. “They have to have already committed to doing that work with you. Otherwise it’s an uphill battle that’s not sincere.”

Diversity training, Sheppard says, is “forever work”, an ongoing process that requires both commitment and resources. A few years ago, they explain, half-day sessions around inherent bias training were all the rage among financial institutions. That kind of did-everyone-see-us-check-this-box? approach has had little impact on people’s attitudes around race.

“The statistics are really clear that people are not getting into the depth of it,” they say.

And it is a problem of considerable depth. Consider racism an iceberg. We see the tip – the shootings of unarmed Blacks by the police, stories about whites calling the cops on people of colour for no reason – but it’s the biases lurking beneath the surface, so deep that they’re hidden even to ourselves, that make up most of the volume. To really chip away at racism both in and out of the office, those biases – where they come from, how they manifest themselves, how they make others feel – must be addressed directly and at considerable length.

“It’s critical that we honour each other,” Sheppard says. “And part of honouring each other means doing the work to have a better awareness of people’s lived experiences that exist beyond our own.”

Strategies that work
Sheppard encourages companies serious about educating their staff around diversity issues to embrace the power of focus groups. The information gleaned from these sessions can be an invaluable resource, often providing the scaffolding a company can use to build out their racial sensitivity programs.

“When you do those focus groups, you get information that tells you what’s going on, truly, for those marginalized people within your organization,” Sheppard says. “When you have that, and it’s authentic and anonymous, you can be leaps and bounds ahead of where you were.”

A related strategy is what Sheppard calls “passing the mic”, where employees belonging to minority groups are empowered to drive the conversations around their experiences.

There must also be an educational component, one that directly addresses issues both current and historical. (Sheppard created a helpful reading list for anyone hoping to begin their own anti-racist education.) Sheppard says that for this part of the program to resonate, there has to be some sort of visceral, emotional aspect, the kind that has been proven effective in waking white employees up to both the pervasiveness of unconscious racism and the intense sadness and rejection felt by its victims.

Sheppard provides as an example the story of a Black man who, at age 45, was finally able to tweet an image of his finger wrapped in a Band-Aid that matched his own skin colour.

“If you can’t feel it, you are not very likely to fix it,” they say.

When asked why so few of Canada’s major mortgage companies might refuse to take part in this story – check your inboxes, guys and girls – Sheppard says these companies are likely afraid.

“As a white person, you have to be prepared to get uncomfortable,” they say. “People are scared of saying the wrong thing, but they have to be brave enough to say something.”

Anybody else? Anyone at all?
The only non-Equitable Bank representative willing to take part in this story was Centum president and COO Chris Turcotte.

“Obviously it’s heartbreaking and disappointing to still be talking about this in 2020, but it’s our sad reality,” Turcotte said in written comments provided to MBN. “There’s no denying it, hedging, posturing or, probably the worst of all, staying silent about it. It’s a problem.”

Turcotte recounted how Centum was the first mortgage brand to pause its social media and marketing in order to “remove our noise so that voices could be heard, stories could be told and what really matters could be front and center.”

In his statements, Turcotte says that racism is “everywhere” and that it’s “not always obvious or seen outwardly”, but rather than institute policies that directly address these biases or provide the kind of top-down leadership Sheppard says is most effective, he says the company has chosen instead “to hear what the people affected by this in our industry are experiencing.”

Though “known for its agent diversity”, according to Turcotte, Centum has no racial sensitivity program in place for new hires.

“We do a great job of really getting to know any candidates before we bring them to our organization,” he continues. “We generally hire from within the industry, so we know the people we’re bringing on board align with our company values.  If for some reason they fall out of alignment it would be something we’re more than prepared to deal with.  Issues like racism in the workplace need to be dealt with immediately.  I’ve always believed that you should feel just as safe at work as you do at home.”

Turcotte says the company has no plans to institute a racial sensitivity program.

“We’ll continue to lead and hire with our hearts. To protect and defend our staff with open, two-way communication. We’ll continue to be a part of the conversation but, most importantly, we’ll continue to listen, work to understand and use our platform to raise awareness,” he writes.

According to Equitable vice-president Paul von Martels, that sit-back-and-hope-for-the-best approach doesn’t cut it.

“It’s easy to hire a diverse team, it’s much harder to create an inclusive environment where everyone is aligned on a common purpose, where tenure is long and team trust is deep,” von Martels says. “If this isn’t the ambition, leaders will have hired simply for the sake of diversity and it will certainly fail.”

Further resources and events
Sheppard encourages mortgage leaders who want to begin providing their employees diversity and inclusion education to visit the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. They also encourage business leaders to learn about the work being done by the Black North Initiative, including the group’s upcoming summit on July 20.


Lower Immigration to be a Drag on Housing for Years, Says TD

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 17 Jul

Lower Immigration to be a Drag on Housing for Years, Says TD

A drop in immigration levels will have “lasting impacts on ownership housing” in Canada for years to come, according to a research report from TD Economics.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi wrote that the resulting significant slowdown in the country’s population growth explains one-third of TD’s lower expectations for housing growth.

“From 2016-2019, Canada saw a tremendous expansion of its population base as federal immigration targets were raised, and a myriad of factors drove a historic intake of foreign students,” Sondhi wrote. “This underpinned home sales, drove robust demand for rental housing, and supported the fastest pace of homebuilding since the Global Financial Crisis.”

But COVID-19 has “thrown sand in the gears” of Canada’s population growth, he continued, with the national population count growing by just 75,000 in Q1 of 2020, marking the slowest pace of growth since 2015. Sondhi noted that economic data points to Q2 posting even weaker growth as the number of immigrants arriving in April fell 80% compared to a year earlier.

new immigrants to canadaWhile some of this decline will be temporary, ongoing travel fears, government travel restrictions, a pandemic-related slowdown in processing times for immigration applications and tepid economic growth are likely to keep population growth below its pre-COVID level of 1.5% for “the next few years.”

“Weaker population growth is a major factor underpinning our downgraded forecasts for home sales, prices and starts across the country through 2021,” Sondhi wrote. “This more moderate pace of population growth will weigh on housing market activity across the country.”

A 2019 Statistics Canada survey found that homeownership rate among immigrants has increased substantially in recent years, roughly matching that rate of the Canadian-born population (Chart 6).

Not only that, but immigrants also tend to own more expensive properties compared to non-immigrant purchasers, the study found (Chart 7).

Courtesy of TD Economics and Statistics Canada

“This data suggests that (all else equal) weaker immigration flows would weigh disproportionately on average prices, which are influenced by more expensive properties,” Sondhi wrote.

Regional Impacts

In terms of which regions will be most affected, immigrants tend to settle in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary, which accounted for more than 60% of immigrant inflows in 2019.

Montreal may be less affected by the slowdown since homeownership rates are lower compared to other jurisdictions, Sondhi noted. While in Calgary, an elevated unemployment rate is likely to yield slower population growth and result in a bigger hit to Calgary’s housing market.

In the Atlantic region, too, stats show immigrant homeownership rates are generally higher compared to other jurisdictions.

Sondhi noted that reduced immigration isn’t the only issue affecting housing growth. Elevated unemployment will account for about two-thirds of the downgraded housing forecast, offsetting positive factors, such as the presence of significant pent-up demand, supportive demographics and low interest rates, which should result in “modest price growth in the second half of 2020 and a mild decline next year.”


Recovery of Canadian economy from COVID-19 could last ten years – Capital Economics

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 16 Jul

Recovery of Canadian economy from COVID-19 could last ten years – Capital Economics

Recovery of Canadian economy from COVID-19 could last ten years – Capital EconomicsMounting household and business debt will stymie the expected rapid recovery of the Canadian economy post-COVID-19, according to Capital Economics.

“High private-sector (business and consumer) debt is likely to hold back productivity growth in the coming decade relative to that in the US,” said Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics.

Defying the general mood of optimism among observers of Canada’s struggles against the coronavirus pandemic, the new report by Capital Economics projected that year-end GDP might end up 6.3% weaker than the level seen prior to the outbreak.

“Our forecast for a 5.5% rebound in 2021 implies that it will remain below its pre-virus level until early 2022,” Brown said. “Against that backdrop, we expect the federal budget deficit to remain wide and think the Bank of Canada will continue its asset purchases for at least another 12 months.”

The prolonged slowdown – and its likely impact on most Canadians’ purchasing power – will keep economic growth at an average of 1.5% annually over the next decade or so. This is a markedly weaker pace than the 1.8% long-term average seen over the last few years.

Capital Economics also predicted a significant 6.2% decline in jobs by the end of 2020, essentially negating the gains seen over the last few months.