Values that guide council members and some staff will be the base on which a new Procedural Bylaw will be written

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2023



Council met in a day long workshop last week to take a hard, close look at the Procedural Bylaw – the document that sets out the rules on how members of Council work with each other and how the public relates to Council when they meet.

The Gazette is currently doing a readership survey. You can access the survey here. It will run until March 15th

Burlington has had a bumpy ride getting a Procedural Bylaw in place. A number of years ago the province mandated that a municipality had to have a Procedural Bylaw in place and if they didn’t put one in place the province would do it for them.

James Ridge, the City Manager at the time, presented the provincial model to Council and that was adopted.

The city has come a long way since then. Some of the suggestions that were discussed in the day long workshop during which council members went through a process that was intended to give the City Clerk the information he needed to come back to council with a revised procedural bylaw are troubling. At this point the City Clerk is working with Council to work out the kinks and will be returning to Council with a document that will be debated and made final.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon said he gets excited when he talks about Procedural Bylaws.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon told members of Council “We are seeking drafting instructions, which means we will be listening, taking notes and will endeavour to return with a draft bylaw.

“The Procedural Bylaw is at its core a set of rules and values that help to structure how a conversation amongst members of council occurs. “That’s it”, said Arjoon. “It really boils down to: how do you want to have conversations with one another on local matters that affect your communities.

Workshop facilitator Suzanne Gibson described Mayor Meed Ward as “illustrious”.

Suzanne Gibson, the facilitator brought in by the Clerk to keep the meeting moving along, which she did rather well, told the workshop “I’m going to ask each of you to tell me what’s really important to you around establishing good process just as an opening, and then we will have a conversation about what values guiding principles, what criteria are important to you to shape this discussion. So we’re kind of grounding ourselves and what matters: is it a democratic process. Is it about inclusion, we want to look at all of those values and make sure that we’re being guided by what matters most to us as a group.

The only glitch, and it was a whopper, was when Gibson referred to Marianne Meed Ward as “our illustrious Mayor” on more than two occasions.

Gibson has helped more than 200 established organizations, at three levels to reach and attain their goals.

City Manager Tim Commisso started the conversation saying he wasn’t quite ready but spoke nevertheless.

City Manager Tim Commisso

“I wasn’t quite ready. I think I was anticipating council to go first, but yeah, I mean, I’ve long loved working for Burlington. I’ve lived here and I have a passion, I think for the fact that this council, you know, makes decisions which quite frankly leave a legacy in terms of the development of the city. It’s the decisions you make that create this place that is so wonderful, and quite frankly I don’t want to sound like I’m saying but I do believe that we are in one of the top municipalities in Canada, if not North America. So that’s it.

“I love the fact that council has passion for doing whatever it has to do to support community and make this place what it is. And that’s that’s really I think, the you know, gets back to the next question about why I enjoy working with this council because you’re all of the same mind.”


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Meed Ward was next:
“I’m very excited about planning our city for the next seven generations. And putting in a strong foundation for the people that will come after us the families and the youth and everybody – so very excited about that.

“And what’s personally important to me, I like to all the values and the guiding principles it was really, really hard to pick one. But for today’s purposes, I love procedure bylaw, by the way. I love good governance and the reason that I do is that it does help people make good decisions. And better decisions and bad process and bad governance will actually make good people end up doing things that are really harmful to them and to the community that they’re trying to serve.

“So you know, I also think it’s really important that people understand expectations, they, if they don’t understand them at the beginning, then they can they can fail because it wasn’t clearly communicated. I don’t think that’s fair to people.

“And then also procedure can help to make sure that the rules are applied equally. And not in a way that you know, we’ll have a different set of rules for people we’d like and agree with and a different set of rules for people that we don’t.

An example of how Mayor Meed Ward has treated members of Council in the past is HERE. It runs for 14 minutes.

“So procedure. bylaw really is the great leveller for everybody that we’re all under the same rules and if we understand them clearly people I believe and especially this council will follow them and you know we will get to good decisions and the final thing that’s important to me as we go through this process, but any process, is that we treat each other kindly with respect and assume if we’re going to assume any motive the motive should be that we’re all here to serve our community and make it a better place. And I truly believe that about everybody around this horseshoe and everybody that works at the city.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Sharman took a slightly different approach saying: “The word excite is an interesting one. What I really like about being in this role is being able to make a contribution. And that’s really about it. And that means thinking about the whole community and what we can do to make the community more effective, more efficient, but more importantly more caring.

“And you know, in a municipal environment, government environment, I can say that the two things that come out for me most strongly are purpose and perspective.  I believe our purpose is to think about the values that we hold for the city well into the future. And emphasis on the future.

“I am less concerned about things that are urgent things that are bothering people in the community today as to thinking more broadly about where we’re going and how we’re going to get there. Not to suggest we should ignore what things are bothering people, but oftentimes I find that that if you don’t think about the future you can’t put those other things in perspective..

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

Councillor Bentivegna was perhaps the most direct in why he ran for public office.

“I’m involved in being a councillor because I want to make a difference. I think that’s really why we’re all here; we want to make a positive difference. I think it’s very important that the community evaluates the city evaluates us in their everyday lives. And we have that opportunity to make those adjustments, make those changes so that the quality of life continues to get better in our city.

“And that’s what we’re really here for. And it’s not just, you know, what we do each day has to be fair for everyone. Regardless of what walk of life we come from, where we come from, and what financial situation that we’re in. And that’s it’s a long way to go around and say we need to make decisions that are best and fair in our community.”

Lisa Kearnsm said: “I too, along with what the mayor has said and Kevin has said, I’m a bit of a process nerd. I think that’s been evident. I was really looking forward to today as well. So that is one of the things that excites me about being in this role is that is the opportunity to represent citizens in the city in order to ensure that the process that we’re operating under is fair and reasonable. I like that word that Councilman to Bentivegna used – fair and reasonable.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

“I mean the manner in which we conduct business on behalf of residents should in essence, be under a process that’s fair and reasonable to the people around this horseshoe to the staff and to the residents of the city as far as their voice being heard and that we are being transparent and accountable.

“What’s personally important to me with respect to this comes down to that: are the decisions that we make involve political motivations, and that’s fair and reasonable because that’s part of our role. The process by which we make those decisions should not be politically motivated.

“So I’m excited to make sure that whatever we come up with today is kind of separated so we have a clean and neutral process. While we make decisions on behalf of the city.”

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan: “ Yeah, one thing that excites me, you know, having grown up in Burlington, it’s just really fun to be on council and to be making decisions and seeing things that I saw, or better understanding the city that I grew up in and saw from a totally different perspective.

“And then the other half of that is now developing building a city that I’ve known for a long time and seeing the weightiness of our decisions and the way that it can have an impact for years and decades down the road. So that’s very exciting to be able to have an influence on the future of the city. And what’s important to me ?

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan took part in the meeting virtually

“Well, what I really like about procedure by laws and Robert’s Rules of orders is how democracy underpins the decision making process. How everything is in the end under this principle of majority rules, which I find really cool and I like how there’s tensions that are with say, cheering right chair as an enhanced decision making authority needs to be overruled by a two thirds majority.

“For example. I just find it is very very important that the majority rule be there at the at the bottom, but that we also have rules that enhanced the efficiency of what we’re doing. I think it’s really important that that efficiency be something that we are looking at which I know we are looking at today. But efficiency doesn’t mean rushing either so that’s what matters to me.”

Ward 1 Kelvin Galbraith said: “I’m very excited about being in this role. You know, I’m Burlington born bred, work, live and breathe everything Burlington. To be able to participate at a city level and give back to the community is what really excites me. I realized throughout my life how much time I spent at city rink facilities, parks, and sometimes I didn’t even know they were city run by by the city, but now that I’m on the other side.

“I really want to participate and give back and help build the future for the next seven generations as the mayor said.   I can participate and that is really exciting to me. And what’s important about this process well, you know, I I must say I didn’t know the procedure bylaw like the back of my hand; this process could have been done four years ago and might have benefited me and some of our procedures but I’m all about efficiencies.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

“I think most of my colleagues will agree with that. So if we can make this process more efficient, and  I’m very supportive of that.

“Looking forward to the Deputy Mayor discussion as well. I think that’s a very unique thing that this council is doing and helps us collaborate together. So I’m really looking forward to that discussion as well.”

Kevin, Arjoon, the City Clerk summed up his view saying: “Yeah, for me working with the city. I think the one great thing is I get to work with people right. On Friday, I got to go to Frank Hayden secondary school and talk to trustee Ethan who set up a student poll for their student trustee and it was just so magical to have a conversation with someone about democratic rights and barriers to participation, stuff like that. So I think that’s the one big thing is I get to talk to people that are in the community, doing good things, and that really energizes me.

“The one thing that I like about Procedure Bylaws is when you read one and there’s minority rights,  baked in, embedded into the procedure bylaws. So the you know, the majority rules, all of that is really great, but then there’s little nuance pieces that really respect that there could be divergent opinions, and they respectfully provide rules for the divergent opinions to sort of coexist and be managed within the process. So that’s my favourite thing about a procedure by law.”

City Manager Tim Commisso followed up saying:  “Sorry, I realized I didn’t answer the second question. My apologies. The procedural bylaw for me is the most important integrating structure we have related to governance.  I like to look at alignment and integration as really two keys of a great organization. A Procedural Bylaw provides full integration, not across all aspects of governance, but the ones that really, I think, allow us to work together. The relationship that council and staff have in this municipality, I think is really the strength of the organization.”

And so there you have it – the politicians were not in election mode – there were doing their best to tell Suzanne Gibson, the Workshop facilitator why they liked the job.

Her job was to help them create a Procedural Bylaw that would help them to deliver on why they were members of City Council.

You can now think about what they said and decide if they are up to doing the job.  The public now needs to wait until the draft of the Bylaw is presented to Council.

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Food Trucks reported to be part of the 2023 Holiday Market.

By Pepper Parr

March 7th, 2023



You may not have known about it, some members of Council will know – but you aren’t going to get this news from City Hall

Food Trucks in winter weather might be a bit of a challenge

The Burlington Holiday Market is said to take place on DECEMBER 1, 2 & 3, 2023  – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Santa Claus parade takes place on Sunday the 4th

The Burlington Holiday Market has joined the For the Love of Markets event umbrella along with For the Love of Fathers and Food Trucks

The Gazette is currently running a readership Survey. It will run until March 15th You can access the survey HERE

In their announcement the Food Truckers ask vendors to “Join us for the third annual Holiday Market, where 15,000 guests stroll their way through the downtown and shop local! “

No word yet on just where the Food Trucks are going to be located.

We do look forward for some comment from Brian Dean, Executive Director of the Burlington Downtown Business Association


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Library Bookmark winners

By Staff

March 6th, 2023



Burlington Public Library is delighted to announce the results of their annual bookmark contest.

Earlier this year, they asked participants to design a bookmark inspired by their favourite book—the 278 entries they received were “as creative and diverse as the books on our shelves”.

Shortening the entries to four designs per age category for community voting was challenging. After tallying up the 1000+ votes cast online, the 2023 winning designers are Rori C. (ages 5 and under), Samreen K. (ages 6 to 12), Shannon B. (ages 13-17), and Hayley E. (ages 18+).

Congratulations to the winning designers—and well done to everyone who entered the contest this year!

The winning designs truly showcase the imagination and talent in our community. Starting next week, customers can pick up the professionally-printed bookmarks at all branches to use in their next great read.


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Procrastination for the 3 to 6 demographic - Emergence of Procrastination in Early Childhood

By Staff

March 6th, 2023



A new study out of Brock’s Developing Memory and Cognition Lab shows there may be more to those heartfelt requests from toddlers for “five more minutes” before heading to bed than researchers have previously understood.

Brock student researchers Taissa Fuke (MA ’22), Ege Kamber and Melissa Alunni (BA ’21), alongside Associate Professor Caitlin Mahy in the Department of Psychology, co-authored “The Emergence of Procrastination in Early Childhood: Relations With Executive Control and Future-Oriented Cognition,” which was published in Developmental Psychology last week.

The paper shows that not only does procrastination behaviour emerge as early as age three, but it also becomes more characteristic over time and appears to be linked with other future-thinking behaviours, such as delaying gratification.

One of the key distinctions drawn by the researchers is the difference between task avoidance and procrastination, which boils down to two important factors: a personal need to do something and an intention to do it — eventually.

“Task avoidance for adults may be as simple as staying away from a social event we don’t want to go to,” says Kamber, a Brock PhD student. “But in procrastination, we know we have to do this task, even if it’s undesirable, but we put it off.”

Mahy says determining intention, especially in children as young as three, can be challenging, so the team was careful to have parents report on tasks children intended on doing or had to do themselves, such as getting out of bed in the morning.

As a result, they detected an interesting pattern.

The marsh-mellow test: a classic tool to determine how long children will delay eating the marsh mellow.

“The three- and four-year-olds procrastinated in different areas than the five- and six-year-olds,” Mahy says. “The younger children were much more likely to procrastinate on tidying up messes and engaging in bedtime or mealtime routines, whereas the older children were more likely to procrastinate on doing homework or doing chores around the house.”

Kamber, whose PhD research focuses on episodic future thinking, says the connection between procrastination and future-thinking behaviours, such as delaying gratification, has been of particular interest to him.

Using the example of the marshmallow test, where children are given a marshmallow and assured that if they don’t eat it right away, they can have a second marshmallow in 10 minutes, he explains how delayed gratification and procrastination involve similar forms of impulse control.

“You know you need to wait because the future outcome is better, but it’s also hard to wait, because it’s a marshmallow,” he says. “Delayed gratification is our ability is to inhibit our current impulses to focus on greater future outcomes, but with procrastination, we have to inhibit our impulse to not do the undesirable task in order to get it completed.”

The connection between procrastination and future-thinking is important because it involves “having empathy for your future self,” Mahy says.

“The thing about procrastination is that you get an instant reward of not vacuuming the carpet or not doing homework — you get to enjoy the current moment,” she says. “But the task that you will eventually have to do still hangs over your head and tends to create more anxiety over time — you’re effectively punishing your future self with the task and also the prolonged anxiety.”

Link to the paper HERE

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Burlington announces four new pieces to Celebrate Diversity through Public Art

By Staff

March 6th, 2023



Four new public art pieces from diverse artists and an artist collective have been selected by the city to celebrate Burlington’s diverse communities.

Last spring, diverse artists were invited to submit their ideas to create installations in Burlington public spaces to celebrate Burlington’s diverse communities.

A total of $29,000 was offered for the projects.

The City’s public art program is supporting these successful applicants by providing resources and staff support through the planning, installation and execution of the project. This may include connecting to artists and fabricators, help with permits and permissions as well as general project support.
The selected artists, projects and locations are:

Selected are:

Tansley Woods will be the location for Hope Flynn’s Birds of the World painting.

Poonam Sharma Spring Mural Central Recreation Centre

Noah Cecol Cliffs to Gardens Photography Waterfront Parking Garage

Teresa Seaton has been a frequent grant recipient. Her studio is located on Spring Gardens Road, opposite the RBG

Hope Flynn Birds of the World Painting Tansley Woods Recreation Centre

Teresa Seaton and John Highley Making Roots Mosaic glass Maple Park Community Garden

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Lisa LaFlamme to keynote the 'un' dinner party

By Staff

March 6th, 2023



Times changed and events had to take place virtually – which didn’t stop the Women of Halton Action Movement from celebrating its 20th annual International Women’s Day fundraiser, the longest running event of its kind, with a virtual event – The “un” Dinner party.

March 8th, keynote speaker Lisa LaFlamme will talk about her recent trip to Tunisia, her career, some of her best ever interviews and what she has planned for her future.

Did anyone think Lisa LaFlamme was going to sit in a corner and take up knitting ?  This is a woman well worth listening to.

LaFlamme is one of Canada’s most recognizable and awarded journalists, a former national news anchor, a humanitarian and an Order of Canada recipient.

Her departure from a national news organization was a major news story that changed the way the public reacted to how woman were treated in senior roles within large corporate interests.

Tickets are available at Every ticket purchase and donation will receive a tax receipt for the full amount. At any time on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2023 or thereafter, please enjoy watching our programme at

The two charitable organizations benefitting from this event are The Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services of Halton ( )and Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan ( ).

SAVIS provides free and confidential services to all survivors of violence, offering counseling, education, anti-human trafficking assistance and 24/7 crisis support.

CW4WA represents Canadians taking action, in partnership with Afghan women, toward improving conditions of human rights, ending women’s oppression, and providing opportunities for Afghan women to live their lives with dignity, certainty and purpose.

The Founding Sponsor for this event is The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

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HDSBoard names Student Trustees for 2023-2024 - Sultan Alimzhanov, Shrena Sribalan begin term Aug. 1, 2023

By Pepper Parr

March 5th, 2023



The Halton District School Board announces secondary school students Sultan Alimzhanov and Shrena Sribalan as the Board’s Student Trustees for the 2023-2024 school year.

Both students were successful in their bid to be elected to the role on Friday (Feb. 24) through an online and in-person election with 23 candidates running and more than 2,500 students casting votes.

Alimzhanov is a Grade 11 student at Abbey Park High School in Oakville and Sribalan is a Grade 11 student at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton. The new term of office officially begins on Aug. 1, 2023.

Shrena Sribalan is a Grade 11 student at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton.

“Being elected as one of the successful candidates to represent over 66,000 students in our board has been an unparalleled experience,” says Alimzhanov. “I feel a great sense of excitement and anticipation for the work Shrena and I will be able to contribute to enhancing HDSB in the upcoming school year. I am deeply grateful to my friends, family and teachers who have provided unwavering support throughout this journey. I am honoured and grateful to all the students in the HDSB who placed their trust in me to safeguard their interests. I am optimistic about the future of this school board, and I am confident that we will achieve great things together.”

Sultan Alimzhan is Grade 11 student at Abbey Park High School in Oakville

“Ever since I first heard about the Student Trustee role in elementary school, I instantly fell in love with the opportunity to lead change in the HDSB,” Sribalan says. “After years of involving myself in the HDSB Student Senate initiatives and hearing the voices and concerns of hundreds of students, I can’t express in words how humbled, grateful and honoured I am that my dream has come true. I’m unbelievably excited to work with Sultan, board members and most importantly, the students to ensure the HDSB is always striving to support every student in reaching their potential throughout their schooling and beyond. After watching my predecessors voice student concerns and reach immense heights at the board level, I am excited to see where this role takes me.”

In recognizing the results of the Student Trustee election, Trustees of the Halton District School Board welcomed Alimzhanov and Sribalan to their roles as Student Trustees for the 2023-2024 school year.

If these two students are like past student representative, the HDSB team of trustees will be a much better group.  I have heard student trustees speak on issues that the trustees were vaguely aware of – the students were focused, well prepared and at times stunned the trustees with the quality of their delivery when they spoke.

Several have gone on to university careers – they will make a mark on this troubled society.

“Congratulations to Halton District School Board’s newly elected Student Trustees Sultan Alimzhanov and Shrena Sribalan,” says Chair Margo Shuttleworth. “The Trustees of the Halton District School Board deeply value student voice. A Student Trustee is a representative of the students at the board table, they vocalize the opinions of the students and strive to make change. We are excited to welcome Sultan and Shrena to the Board table, and we know they will respectfully and equitably represent their fellow students with passion and excitement. The Board of Trustees look forward to working alongside our new Student Trustees in making positive change happen in Halton.”

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Ontario Liberals decide how they will elect their new leader

By Staff

March 4th, 2023



During the Ontario Liberal Party’s largest Annual Meeting in over 20 years, party members voted to adopt a new system for electing their next Leader.

The Gazette is currently running a readership survey that will be up until March 15. You can access the survey HERE. You only get to do the service once.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie drawing the attention of Ontario Liberals at their Annual AGM

Under the new leadership election system, each constituency association shall be allocated 100 points, to be awarded to leadership candidates based on the proportion of support they receive.

Members will directly cast their votes for their preferred Leadership candidate using a ranked ballot, giving every member a say in the election of a new Leader.

In continuing to recognize the unique and important roles youth play in our party and in the future of Ontario, party members have also voted to allocate 50 points to each Ontario Young Liberal student club.

At the Annual Meeting, party members will also elect a new President and Executive Council, who will determine the timeline and additional requirements of the leadership election process.

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Burlington Green is hiring - busy March Schedule

By Staff

March 4th, 2023



Burlington Green has a very active event calendar for April. The events and dates are set out below – slip over to their web site for more details on the Burlington Green web site.


March 10: Community Clean-Up registration opens

March 13: BG Youth Network Guest Speaker

March 15 & 21: Volunteer Information Sessions

March 25:  Take Action for Earth Hour 

March 27: BG Youth Network Film Screening & Beach Clean Up

April 1: National Butt Blitz Begins!

April 5: “Out of the Lyme Light-Wellness through Birding” Webinar 

April 22: Green Up Tree Planting and EARTH DAY event

May 13:  Spring E-Waste Collection & Repair Cafe


They are also looking for someone to work on a summer project. Details HERE.

Employment Opportunities

The Gazette is running a readership survey. We would appreciate hearing what you have to say. CLICK HERE to access the survey

Our “Branching Out” strategic plan guides our impactful work. We collaborate with residents, businesses, organizations, and governments to ensure the rights of the environment are respected and together we make direct and tangible improvements to the local environment through the delivery of a wide variety of programs, events and services.

If you are passionate about creating a healthier environment and want to create positive change for a more sustainable future in Burlington, we invite you to check out the rewarding employment opportunity outlined below.

Please note that all applicants must submit a cover letter as well as a resume to be considered for this opportunity.

Please include your contact information including the city where you live on your resume.

CONTRACT OPPORTUNITY (with potential extension)

We are seeking a passionate, organized, flexible, self-motivated, experienced professional to join our team serving as a Program Assistant, responsible for community engagement services and assisting team members with the research, planning, promotion, delivery, and evaluation of a variety of locally-focused environmental programs, events, presentations, and activities.

More detail on the Burlington Green web site.

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Provincial Liberals - 1500 of them gather in Hamilton to begin the process of preparing for the next election

By Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2023



John Fraser, the Interim Leader, Ontario Liberal Party

John Fraser, the Interim Leader, Ontario Liberal Party was giving an address to the more than 1500 Liberals who gathered in Hamilton for their AGM.

These are pretty proforma events, everyone gets recognized and thanked.

But his time around Fraser was able to do something different.

The Gazette is currently running a readership survey. Please access the survey HERE.

Turns out that Hamilton Centre, the seat that Andrea Horwath held before she ran for and won the job of being Mayor of Hamilton has a candidiate running in the byelection.  Deirdre Pike is the candidate running for the Hamilton Centre seat.

Liberals pack the Convention Centre in Hamilton for their AGM

Fraser invited every one of those 1500 people to get out and do some door knocking.

I’ve done my share of door knocking, usually with the candidate and sometimes a couple of people working the other side of the street as we worked our way through a neighbourhood.

But can you imagine if those 1500  Liberals in Hamilton for a convention descended in groups of 50 on a street – all wearing red T shirts.

The Hamilton Centre riding included the Convention Centre; image the TV footage that would come out of an event like that. Might even make the evening news.

The Liberals will decide on how they will elect their new leader and clean up parts of their Constitution.

A healthy crowd in Hamilton for a Convention: All Liberals getting ready for a critical election in 2026

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Toronto Spring Real Estate Forecast: A Market As Unpredictable As The Weather

By Erin Nicole Davis

March 4th, 2023



As we look ahead to the warmer months, brokers, sellers, buyers, and would-be buyers are sitting in the sidelines, eagerly watching the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) real estate market for new signs of life.

But, if we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that the GTA’s ever-dramatic housing market is a tricky one to predict. With talks of a looming recession still swirling, a climate of sky-high interest rates, and a stark reality of low home sales, some headlines inevitably warn of doom and gloom on the real estate front as we move into 2023.

The Gazette is running a readership survey. Please CLICK HERE to access the survey. Just one survey per person.

The figures don’t lie: GTA home sales were down 44% year-over-year in January and new home sales dropped to a 23-year low the same month.

But some experts say there’s also room for optimism. In their most recent market outlook report, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) called 2023 “a year of two halves.” The 2023 Market Outlook & 2022 Year in Review Report suggests an uptick in GTA real estate activity in the second half of the year, when we’ll see an increase in sales activity, heightened competition among buyers, and a renewed upward pressure on home prices.

“We start the year more or less where we were through the fall and winter of 2022, but I anticipate that, as we move into the second half of the year — and that can include part of the spring market — that we’ll start to see a greater number of would-be homebuyers moving off the sidelines,” TRREB’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer tells STOREYS. “If you think of previous interest rate cycles and even the onset of the OSFI stress test a few years ago, it takes about a year or a year and a half for a change in the interest rate environment to have its full impact on the market. People have to pull back and think about how they’ll mitigate the impact of higher borrowing costs. They may look at a different priced house or in a different part of the GTA, but — after a year — people have made that decision.”

So, Mercer says they’ll move back into the marketplace — albeit with a potential re-evaluation of expectations. “All of the other preconditions for housing demand are in place,” highlights Mercer. “We have extremely tight market and we’re seeing the population grow at a record pace — people require a place to live.”

With that said, there’s no denying that this spring’s real estate market will look different than it has in recent years, especially in the wake of the GTA’s red-hot and record-smashing run that began not long after the term “social distancing” became a common one in our collective vocabularies.

“Certainly, we had a record-setting year in 2021,” acknowledges Mercer. “In 2022, the spring market was anything but a pick-up, because we were seeing the initial impact of higher borrowing costs. I would expect to see more of the seasonal trend this year — I do expect to see more sales in the spring than we did in January and February — but sales will definitely be off if you’re looking at it from a historical perspective in comparison to 2021 and many years over the past decade or so.”

The Toronto market will be closely watched come the Spring

Certain areas of the GTA may see more action than others, says Mercer. “One thing we noticed in our IPSOS consumer polling was that first-time buyers are going to represent a substantial chunk of intending buyers this year,” says Mercer. “If you think about the most popular type of homes for first-time buyers, condo apartments are on top of that list. So, certainly those areas that have a substantial stock of condos may be of interest to this group. Obviously, the City of Toronto has many condo developments, but throughout the GTA, there are also various condo nodes: Mississauga City Centre, Vaughan and Metropolitan Centre. ”

Mercer points out that the focus has, understandably, been on the demand side of the market — a by-product of the interest rate hikes — but that the GTA has also not seen a lot of movement on the supply front.

“So, for the medium to long-term, this is still a major issue for the GTA,” he says. “If we’re seeing record levels of immigration, and a lot of those people are choosing to move into the GTA and Greater Golden Horseshoe, so we need to provide enough housing in both the rental and the ownership market. In both cases, over the past decade, we’ve seen competition among people who need housing. So, just because we’ve seen a slowdown in the ownership market due to higher borrowing costs, it doesn’t mean that we take our foot off the gas when it comes to getting more supply online. All levels of government have committed to addressing the supply crisis and we need to continue this.”

Despite the record-low sales that have inevitably kept some realtors up at night, some industry insiders point to a relentless lack of inventory as a driver to keep the market competitive in the months ahead. Earlier this month, John Pasalis, President of Realosophy Realty, highlighted that low-rise inventory had fallen below two months in the GTA, while condos fell below three months of inventory. According to Pasalis at the time, these could be signs of a market that is gradually heating up.

Of course, low housing inventory usually means that buyers will typically pay more for homes because the demand for the limited number on the market tends to be higher. Pasalis was quick to tell STOREYS that he’s not suggesting the market is remotely close to being as competitive as it was last year, just that it’s more competitive than it was in the fall.

GTA-based realtor Davelle Morrison can confirm that there’s definitely competition in the market. “Surprisingly, I’m seeing a lot of bidding wars,” Morrison tells STOREYS. “Last night, my clients were offering on a townhouse in North York and it had 19 offers on it. We thought they’d get it for sure — especially because it was only two bedrooms — but they lost out. They were only the second highest offer.”

When we spoke, Morrison said she was about to show a condo downtown earlier in the day, but got an email from the realtor saying they’d just received a registered offer.

“So, I feel that things are picking up right now on the listing side as well as on the buying side,” says Morrison of what she’s currently seeing in the market. But she isn’t convinced this trend will continue into the warmer months. “People always seem to hold out for the spring market, thinking it’s the right time to list a house,” she says. “I would disagree, because that’s when you could see a bit of a slowdown because we’re going to have more supply — which is what everyone’s been looking for — but I think that supply might be enough to satisfy the few buyers who are out there looking right now. So, while there are lots of bidding wars right now, I’m not sure that same condition is going to happen in April or May.”

People will list their houses, says Morrison, but buyers likely won’t have to deal with the bidding wars they’re fighting off right now. “I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the Bank of Canada keeps its promise to pause rates,” says Davelle of the impact of interest rates on the spring market. The Bank of Canada recently signalled that is would finally pause its perpetual rate hikes.

“I think my greatest concern is the rules that OFSI may come out with,” says Morrison of potentially stricter stress tests by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). “In January, they came out to say they’d be doing some consultations — which would end around the middle of April — and these consultations would tighten up the mortgage requirements. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I feel by the end of the year — maybe it’s summer or fall — I feel that there will be some tightening, which will make it that much harder for buyers to enter the market and impact sellers trying to sell.”

On that note, she advises sellers that now isn’t the time to wait when it comes to listing their properties. “You’ll most likely get less the longer you wait,” she says. “There’s a lot of mixed messages in the market right now. You have the stats of slumping sales and prices but, on the same note, you’ve got bidding wars. I would say that the housing market is a lot stronger than the condo market right now. Condos do seem to be sitting on the market a lot longer, whereas there’s more activity with houses.”

Toronto-based mortgage broker and real estate commentator Ron Butler notes that there was a “tiny burst of activity” starting immediately in the new year, with both inquiries and approvals up. “But that seems to be petering out in the past 10 to 12 days,” he says. “Of course, there is a direct correlation between mortgage rates and sales activity. What we experienced in December and January was reductions in fixed-rate mortgage rates — the two-year, three-year, and five-year options went down. Obviously, variable went up because it’s always going up.

We saw as low 4.24 five-year fixed. That doesn’t seem very low considering it was 1.99 a year and a bit ago, but it’s still a lot better than 5.29. We saw a three-year fixed at 4.68 and it started to create a tiny bit of affordability when the rates were that low.”

Butler is quick to point out that “low” is relative. “’Low’ is just a function of not being in the fives — not having a rate that starts with a five,” he says. However, Butler says that rates have shot back up in the past two weeks. “The three-year rates have gone up 80 basis points; the five-year has gone up 70 basis points; with the exception of the CMHC five-year fixed, we’re going to be seeing every rate in the five percent range again this week,” he says. “So, that’s a major and meaningful change when it comes to affordability.”

Butler says that, if this trend continues, the outlook for the spring market isn’t going to be great. “It won’t be too springy,” he says. “It’s as simple as that.” He says that nearly half of all GTA listings are terminated.

“We have a group of people who may want to sell, but want to explore just how much their house is going to get,” says Butler. “So, they try. But we see many listings terminated when they discover nobody will pay the price and they withdraw the listing. Then, there’s definitely people who are interested in buying. We see that when a property is listed that it’s designed for multiple bidding situations. People are expecting to list their house at $699K and sell it for $899K. So, you end up with 25 people coming to see the house because they think there’s a chance that it could sell for the low price. That shows there’s people interested in buying their first home.”

Conversely, he says the market doesn’t see similar activity in the $2M+ market. “First-time homebuyers create the bottom of the pyramid of real estate; says Butler. “If they find it’s not affordable, there just won’t be that much action. It’s very strange but it’s true that a mortgage that starts with a four is just much more interesting than a mortgage that starts with a five. If the fixed rate mortgage environment continues upward, it will be a very quiet spring.”

Butler calls the current interest rate climate “slightly chaotic” and highlights Canada’s susceptibility to the market in the United States (US).

“The Bank of Canada is committed to a pause in increasing the prime rate; there will be no rate hike in March,” says Butler. “But there’s pressure south of the border because the Federal Reserve has become much more hawkish in the last two weeks. There have been big job reports in the US, their inflation isn’t falling as fast as ours, and there may be continuous small increases there. There may be quarter percent increases next month, the following month, and maybe even again in the summer — and that impacts Canada. Eventually, if they continue to raise their federal funds rate, that will result in pressure here to increase rates — both fixed and variable.”

So, we have to watch job creation numbers and inflation both in the US and in Canada, says Butler. “In some ways, the US situation is going to start to control the Canadian situation,” he says.

In the meantime, while those April showers may be so close we can almost feel them, whether the spring breathes new life into the GTA real estate market is still up in the (hopefully warming) air.

Erin Nicole Davis is a born and raised Toronto writer with a passion for the city and its urban affairs and culture.

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FINALLY - Affordable Options in a Desirable Burlington Location

By Staff

March 3rd, 2023



A Toronto based developer has announced a project that will feature homes priced at under $500,000.

This is a National Homes development in a highly sought after, family-friendly neighbourhood of Northshore, a contemporary mid-rise development.

Eight storeys of one, two and three bedroom units.

This community will offer one, two and three bedroom units.

The developer describes it this way:

In an area that boasts home prices averaging over $1M, this is a rare opportunity for those looking to purchase their first home or even for those looking to right-size their home.

Located on Plains Road East, this eight-storey building contains 153 residential units that are sized to just under 1,000 square feet plus over 5,000 square feet of amenities space.

Ensconced within southern Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe, Burlington has become one of the most desirable places to live and the natural choice for those seeking a balanced lifestyle with modern conveniences. The Aldershot and Burlington GO Transit Stations are minutes away and offer fast and convenient transit west to Hamilton or east to Toronto and the downtown core.

“We’re thrilled to be launching Northshore in one of Burlington’s more desirable neighbourhoods,” says Jason Pantalone, president and managing partner with National Homes. “This area historically has been known for its picturesque homes. We have worked hard to deliver a community that allows first-time buyers to enter the market along with those who wish to downsize and remain in the same area they have lived in for many years.”

The Gazette is running a readership survey. You can link to the survey HERE

One of the oldest and westernmost neighbourhoods in Burlington, the Northshore area has recently seen a revitalization along Plains Road bringing a new vibrance to the area. The downtown core offers restaurants, nightlife, and various activities for all ages, while the surrounding areas offer some of the best greenspaces and outdoor amenities in the region.
In 2019, Burlington, Ontario Ranked Number One for Best Community in Canada and also ranked as the Best Place to Raise a Family by Maclean’s magazine.

The area has seen significant growth in the last few years; now just shy of 200,000 people call Burlington home, with a higher-than-average median household income of around $94,000. Northshore will deliver the highly coveted lifestyle in this growing urban centre and offer a balanced combination of urban fun and quiet family living.

The project promises balance throughout, with big city amenities that have been designed to blend with the backdrop of Burlington. Surrounded by nature, with Lake Ontario to the south, the Niagara Escarpment to the north, residents can truly enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. Proximity to Burlington Beach, the Burlington Trail, and La Salle Park and Marina are part of the allure of living at Northshore.

The convenient location between Toronto and Hamilton is another draw of the area. Commuters will be able to get to Toronto in 35 minutes and Hamilton in 15 minutes. Both Lester Pearson and Hamilton airports are a short distance away. Burlington has made significant investments into local transportation and a sustainable future through over 48 km of bike lanes. Residents at Northshore will have local transportation at their doorstep, and be just mere minutes from the GO Train, QEW, Hwy 403 and 407.

About National Homes
National Homes is currently building on Brant Street site.


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Readership Survey draws sharp rebukes

By Pepper Parr

March 3, 2023



We are currently running a readership survey it will stay until the 15th. The responses so far has been more than respectable. I’ve not been able to do an analysis yet on what has come in – download problems. We are using a new piece of software and still working through the learning hurdles.

I expect to be doing short surveys more often.

The link to the current survey is HERE

Earlier today I got an email from a reader who had some comments I want to share. I think it is important that the public, the elected and the administration be aware of what people think.

I have not used the name of this reader – however he is real.

A south of the QEW resident had this to say:

“Ijust wanted to further clarify or expand on two (2) of the questions in your current online reader survey…

i) Question regarding the balance between CoB City Hall news compared to Region of Halton news…

“If possible, I would like to see / read more news items from a Regional perspective. I realize that this is a bit of a big ask, and is totally dependent on time and resources, so it might not be possible. To your credit, you do make an attempt to occasionally include some Regional focused items…

There are fewer delegations – the hybrid model for council meetings does nothing for people who want to appear before their council. Jim Thompson delegated earlier in the week

ii) On the Question of the performance of the current CoB Council, and if it is performing as expected…. Well, I think they are performing poorly, just a continuation of the disdain towards the ratepayers demonstrated in the last half of the previous council term of 2018 to 2022.

“Am I surprised?… no… so (sadly) they are continuing to perform just as expected.

“Would I like to see an improvement in the performance and effectiveness of the majority of councillors? Respect, conduct, transparency… attendance… Yes!, but like most of the tripe on tv, same writers, same scripts, same players… You can’t teach a bunch of old dogs news tricks”.

“Thanks for your time, and best wishes for The Burlington Gazette going forward.”

If we get a withering negative response, we will publish those as well.

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McKenna appointed by province to Halton Police Service Board

By Staff

March 3rd, 2023



The Halton Regional Police Services Board announced that Ms. Jane McKenna has been appointed as a Provincial representative to the Halton Police Board.

Ms. McKenna is a lifetime resident of Burlington with a strong background in Ontario politics. She was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2011 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022, representing the riding of Burlington. In 2018, she was appointed by the Premier as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and as Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. Before entering politics, she worked in advertising and ran her own successful small business, Rainmaker Consulting.

Jane McKenna at a public event when she was the MPP for Burlington.

“I am honoured to join the Halton Police Board,” said Ms. McKenna. “Together with my fellow board members, I am committed to keeping Halton residents safe by providing strategic governance to police services, and proactively responding to safety issues that matter most in our region.”

“We are pleased to welcome Jane McKenna to our Board. With Ms. McKenna’s vast community knowledge and experience she will be an invaluable member of our team and will bring meaningful insight to our deliberations,” said Halton Police Board Chair Councillor Jeff Knoll.

Ms. McKenna was sworn in on Friday, March 3, 2023, and will join her first Board meeting on Thursday, March 30, 2023.

About the Halton Police Board

The Halton Police Board is a seven-member board that provides strategic governance to the Halton Regional Police Service. It is a provincially mandated legal entity that operates independently from the Regional or Municipal Council – four members of the Board are appointed by the Halton Region Council and three are appointed by the Province of Ontario. It is the Board’s responsibility to ensure the residents of Halton Region receive adequate and effective police services following policing standards issued by the Province.

In essence, the Board is the trustee of public interest regarding the provision of all police services in the community.

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Who reads the Gazette and why - a short survey.

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2023



Just over a month ago I made a very difficult and painful decision – I had to cease publication of the Gazette.  Given my limited resources, I could no longer continue.

I was not ready for the response.  The readers spoke out and asked that I look for ways to continue and that they would support the publication.

A number of people approached me and asked what they could do and they took out their cheque books.

I was able to access enough in the way of fresh funding to operate for 90 to 120 days during which time a business model will be put together that gets us to the point where we are sustainable and can add some of the staff we need.

These things do take time but so far I am on schedule.

The next step is to learn more about the readership we have.

We are doing what the city overdoes: Asking people to complete a survey.  The questions we have asked are the same is as those we asked in 2015, 2018 and 2021.  We want to measure the changes.  Click here for the survey

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Committee of Adjustment per diem payments: Friend of the Mayor didn't appear to show up all that often.

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2023



The Committee of Adjustment is the only Board that pays the people who are appointed.

The work is complex and calls for a level of understanding of property matters that few people have.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and her husband Pete dining with Diane and Nick Leblovic.

It is important work that deals with minor property variances. The city doesn’t always agree with the Committee of Adjustment.

Members of the Committee are usually people who apply to be members – Council decides who is to be appointed.

Leblovic is a member of the Committee but does not appear to have taken part in very many CoA hearings even though there are reports that the CoA schedule is months behind.  What usually takes less than three months is now taking more than six months for a CoA hearing.

Nicholas Leblovic, a lawyer, and a close friend and confident of Mayor Meed Ward, is the only person who was part of the Mayor’s Campaign Committee in 2018 that was part of that Campaign Committee during the 2022 campaign.

Leblovic is reported to have approached two people who are active in civic matters to join the Committee of Adjustment.  It appears that Friends in high places is part of the political culture in Burlington.

On a full disclosure level Leblovic is the first person to sue me for $1 million.  He chose to represent himself and the matter went know where.   It was Abraham Lincoln who said: A man who represents himself, has a fool for a client.


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If that email convinced to to click click - you are not paying attention to what the scam artists are doing

By Staff

March 2, 2023



Did you get one of these in your email

Did you click on the Continue box?

If you did – expect to lose much of the money you might have.

Scam artists use well known brand names to create confidence and hope that you will click on that yellow box.

Behind that yellow box – there will be a series of questions – from that point on they have begun the process of taking your money.

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Things might get a little 'testy' at Council today. Jim Thompson is expected to point out some shortcoming on transparency and engagement

By Pepper Parr

March 2, 2023



Jim Thompson will be delegating at City Council today.

With Brock University students attending classes at the Bateman site – parking is expected to be a problem. Plans are being considered to convert some of the running track space into parking spots.

Expect a withering series of comments on just how the city engages and informs its citizens.

Based on a preview of what Thompson plans to say we can share the follow statements with you.

Thompson has focused on the renovation and Conversion of Robert Bateman High School

Thompson points out that the Community Engagement Charter and asks for Clear Language not Jargon

The Charter calls for Transparency: “The city’s decision-making processes will be open and clear to the public and the city will actively encourage and facilitate citizen and stakeholder participation in them.”

Jim Thompson delegating to Council

On Engagement Matters Thompson will point out that Early and Widespread Notification is required. “The City of Burlington will provide early and widespread notification to citizens and stakeholders about proposed developments, policies, initiatives and municipal projects. Widespread notification will not be given for purely localized issues such as neighbourhood traffic calming.”

He will then point to just how the city says it will engage and points to a statement: : A public engagement plan is being developed and adds the following: A comprehensive engagement plan that complements a communication plan will be delivered once more of the project timelines and opportunities for authentic engagement are determined.

He will probably point out that this has yet to happen.

On occasion council members will ask questions of a delegation. We will see if that happens this morning.

Related news article:

Thompson giving Council a piece of his mind.

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Salaries for members of City Council: You get what you pay for - this is what they get

By Staff

March 2, 2023



The following are the amounts paid to the members of Burlington city council.

Members of City Council are also members of the Regional Council.

Regional Councillors are paid $39,290.72 per year, with an additional $2000 paid to chairs of Standing Committees. Councillors’ salary is adjusted each year on Dec. 1.

Shawna Stolte got a little less than the Councillors for wards 1,2 and 3 – she was docked five days pay by the Integrity Commissioner.

Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna are over the age of 65 and do not get some of the benefits the others get.

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A Half Marathon on a Chilly Day - only in Burlington you say!

By Staff

March 2, 2023



This is what is taking place on Sunday.

Races are a part of Burlington’s culture along with complaints about street closures.  For the runners – it is a major event.

Be part of it.

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