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Found 25 results

  1. Everyone is aware that Montreal has been performing at an unacceptable level according to virtually every measure. The challenges that lay ahead are not simple, or easy, but they can be pursued successfully. Significant change appears to have commenced, and may be gathering strength. At the outset, let’s be clear about something. If Montreal is to become a great city again, it will either need to get some sort of real “special status” within Quebec, become a special economic zone or, later, a city state. As we see it, the fundamental question we face is: Can Montreal become a city of global importance, or is it destined to be a provincial metropolis? We are currently a provincial metropolis not much higher in status than other important provincial metropolises, such as Halifax or Winnipeg. We need to become more important, like Toronto or Barcelona. Under existing constitutional arrangements, municipalities are controlled largely by the provinces. Provincial governments pass most of the enabling legislation that affects the powers cities have. Mayor Denis Coderre has entered into talks with two provincial cabinet ministers, Pierre Moreau and Robert Poëti, regarding some kind of special status for Montreal that would see the city get more responsibilities and funding — but for small things like transport and services for the homeless. Bravo and kudos, but is that enough? No. A recent Bank of Montreal/Boston Consulting Group analysis of Montreal outlined 10 distinct proposals to turnaround the city’s sagging fortunes. If these 10 propositions were to become actionable, they would be implemented within one of the two broader contexts we see for Montreal: evolving provincial metropolis or evolving global city. First of all, Montreal needs to be able to attract and retain the best talent. That is a clearly defined goal to which to aspire. To do this, Montreal must control its own destiny, and that means it must be open to diversity and become a beacon of opportunity. In order to reconnect with the larger North American and offshore business world, Quebec’s restrictive language laws need to be reviewed, and reworked to fit with Montreal’s global ambitions and identity. The thinking should be as follows: Montreal is a French city, first of all. It is also a North American city. It should become a global city. Global cities are defined by their openness to diversity and creativity. And so all students, regardless of ancestry or origin, need to be bilingual at the end of primary school, and trilingual at the end of secondary school. Anglophones and allophones (including immigrants) should be free to choose any school they want, as long as those schools offer a bilingual or trilingual education. Businesses and institutions should be able to use their language of choice. The public should have access to all services in either official language: anywhere, anytime. All of this is possible; we just have to do it. The time is now. Michel David is a business strategist and author of The Genius Is Inside. He is also a director of Fondation Montréal: City-State. He lives in Westmount. Morton Grostern is a consultant to small- and medium-sized businesses in Montreal. He is also a director of Fondation Montreal: City-State. He lives in Hampstead. Michel Lozeau, a strategic consultant and executive coach in Paris, contributed to this commentary. He lives in Montreal and Paris. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  2. https://austinonyourfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/9-things-people-always-say-at-zoning-hearings-illustrated-by-cats/?utm_content=bufferc065f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer AUSTIN ON YOUR FEET 9 THINGS PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY AT ZONING HEARINGS, ILLUSTRATED BY CATS November 23, 2015Dan Keshet If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats. 1. I’M NOT OPPOSED TO ALL DEVELOPMENT. JUST THIS DEVELOPMENT. Those 1,000 times you sat on your couch to support developments far away from you surely counterbalance that one time you came out to oppose your neighbor’s development. If you’re opposed, just tell us why; don’t go on about how you’re not a person that opposes things. 2. NOBODY TALKED TO ME! The city notifies neighbors and registered civic organizations about upcoming permits. Developers seek out people they think might be affected. But it’s hard to know who is going to care and notifications are often thrown out. Don’t feel left out! If you’re at the hearing, you’re being heard. Just say what’s on your mind. 3. REALITY IS, EVERYBODY DRIVES A CAR. Usually said while proposing somebody build more parking. If you want that reality to ever change, you have to accept building less car infrastructure. 4. THESE GREEDY DEVELOPERS ONLY THINK ABOUT PROFITS Land development is a business. Like all businesses, sometimes you make money and sometimes you lose money. You just try to make sure that you make enough money on the winners to cancel out the losers. Focusing in on the fact that the developer is hoping to make money makes your testimony sound more like you oppose out of spite than a particular reason. 5. LET ME TELL YOU MY THEORY OF ECONOMICS If council members haven’t learned economics by now, they’re not going to learn it from your three minute testimony. 6.WHAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD REALLY NEEDS IS A COFFEE SHOP, NOT MORE APARTMENTS For all the mean things people sometimes say about developers, a lot of folks seem to fashion themselves amateur land developers, with a keen eye on exactly what types of businesses will succeed or fail. As it turns out, those things coincide perfectly with the things they personally enjoy. 7. I’M 5TH GENERATION! MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER MOVED HERE BEFORE THIS WAS EVEN ON THE MAP! That entitles you to one vote, just like everybody else. Now tell us what you came up here to say. 8. WE NEED TO RESPECT THE HUNDREDS OF HOURS SPENT CRAFTING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN Respecting people for volunteering time making plans doesn’t mean those plans should never change. Now tell us your reasons for or against this particular change. 9. THIS HOUSING IS TOO SMALL FOR ME! Different people have different needs and desires! Just because you don’t like a particular thing doesn’t mean nobody would like it. sent via Tapatalk
  3. jesseps

    Google Fiber

    Read more at http://9to5google.com/#KtzmPqKgJf6xvBI3.99 1 Gbps with unlimited data all for $70/month Damn you Kansas City (Kansas / Missouri) Oh yah did I forget 1TB of space in Google Drive.
  4. Le Petit Maghreb By Joel Ceausu Little Italy and Chinatown are getting a new sibling — and since it’s just a few blocks, maybe Louise Harel won’t mind. Le Petit Maghreb is now more than just a casual moniker for a certain part of the city: it’s an official part of Montreal’s commercial destination network, and an unofficial but growing tourism draw. The area in the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough has received $40,000 from the city of Montreal’s Programme réussir à Montréal ([email protected] Commerce) recognizing the efforts of the local Maghreb business association for revitalization of Jean-Talon Street between Saint-Michel and Pie-IX boulevards. “Thanks to this support, local businesspeople finally have the means to create an official new district in Montreal,” said a clearly delighted borough mayor Anie Samson. “It’s excellent news for the Maghreb community, as well as the growing attraction of our borough and Montreal.” The local Maghreb community hails mostly from North Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Over the years, this important stretch of Jean-Talon has become a gathering place for Montreal’s Maghreb community — estimated at about 150,000 people. The funds will be used to develop a master plan to mobilize businesses, reach targeted communities, and carry out an economic and physical strategy to define a public image for the sector. About half of the 105 area businesses are related to Maghreb culture in bakeries, butchers, Arab pastry shops, restaurants and tearooms, along with hairdressing salons and travel agencies. Malik Hadid is also happy that after three years of work the designation will become official. “I am very happy that the Association can count on the support of [email protected] Commerce,” said the travel agency owner and local association president. He was quick to add that the Maghreb association also enjoys close cooperation with the borough, the local economic development agency and Station 30 police. The city’s [email protected] program is already at work in other neighbourhoods around the island, helping spruce up commercial districts and adding appeal to important arteries using architecture, infrastructure and marketing, and helping boost investment by matching funds of local investors. Other east-end streets selected for the program include Promenade Fleury, Jean-Talon St. in Saint-Leonard, and Charleroi in Montreal-Nord.
  5. Influx of South Americans Drives Miami’s Reinvention By LIZETTE ALVAREZ JULY 19, 2014 MIAMI — As the World Cup played out over the past month, yellow-clad Colombians packed the Kukaramakara nightclub downtown, Aguila beers in hand, shouting, “Colombia, Colombia!” Outside, Brazilians in car caravans blasted samba music. Argentines, some in blue-and-white striped jerseys, jammed into nearby steakhouses and empanada joints. Around town, children filed into Sunday Mass, their jerseys ablaze with their futbol heroes from across Latin America. It was less a commentary on soccer than a tableau vivant of the new Miami, which has gone from a place defined by Cuban-Americans to one increasingly turbocharged by a surge of well-educated, well-off South Americans in the last decade. Their growing numbers and influence, both as immigrants and as visitors, have transformed Miami’s once recession-dampened downtown, enriched its culture and magnified its allure for businesses around the world as a crossroads of the Spanish-speaking world. “It’s now the indisputable capital of Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian millionaire who founded Brightstar, a global wireless distribution company based here. “The Latin economic boom in the last 10 years has led to the creation of a huge middle class in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia, and they look at Miami as the aspirational place to be.” The transformation, the latest chapter in the city’s decades-long evolution, is especially apparent amid the building cranes, street life and nightclubs downtown. But it is seen across Miami-Dade County, where highly educated South American immigrants and second-home owners have increasingly put down roots and played a major role in jump-starting a region that not long ago was ravaged by recession. Their relative wealth has allowed them to ramp up businesses like import-export companies and banks, and to open restaurants that dish out arepas from Venezuela, coxinhas from Brazil and alfajores from Argentina. Partly as a result of that influx, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region eclipsed Los Angeles in 2012 as the major metropolitan area with the largest share — 45 percent — of immigrant business owners, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research group. The South American presence has also reshaped politics and radio here. More moderate than traditional Cuban-Americans, South Americans have nudged local politics toward the center. Radio stations no longer cater exclusively to Cuban audiences; they feature more news about Latin America and less anti-Castro fulminating. Last week, Charlie Crist, who is running for governor as a Democrat, named a Colombian-American woman from Miami, Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, as his running mate. Colombians, who first began to settle here in the 1980s, are the largest group of South Americans. They now make up nearly 5 percent of Miami-Dade’s population. They are joined by Argentines, Peruvians and a growing number of Venezuelans. Brazilians, relative newcomers to Miami’s Hispanic hodgepodge, are now a distinct presence as well. The Venezuelan population jumped 117 percent over 10 years, a number that does not capture the surge in recent arrivals. Over half of Miami’s residents are foreign born, and 63 percent speak Spanish at home. Continue reading the main story The influx is expanding the borders of immigrant neighborhoods in places like West Kendall, the Hammocks and Doral. Their numbers are growing across the county line into Broward, where one city, Weston, has gained so many Venezuelans that it is jokingly called Westonzuela. Jorge Pérez, the wealthy real estate developer for whom the the new Pérez Art Museum Miami is named, said the latest surge of South Americans was turning the city into a year-round destination and luring more entrepreneurs and international businesses. Latin American banks have proliferated as they follow their customers here. Most noticeably, they are snapping up real estate in Miami, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, a wealthy island two bridges away from Miami. Real estate developers credit South Americans for spurring the current housing boom. “South Americans are the game changers — they are the ones that allowed the housing market to bounce back,” Mr. Pérez said. Cubans still dominate Miami, making up just over half the number of Hispanics and a third of the total population, and Central Americans have flocked here for decades. But in an area where Hispanics have gone from 23 percent of the population in 1970 to 65 percent now, what is most striking is the deepening influence of South Americans. Many came here to flee a political crisis, as the Venezuelans did after the presidential election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 and then his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, or to escape turbulent economies, as the Argentines and Colombians did more than a decade ago. But the latest wave of South Americans adds a new twist. It includes many nonimmigrants — investors on the lookout for businesses and properties, including second homes in Miami and Miami Beach. For them, Miami is an increasingly alluring place to safely keep money and stay for extended periods. Spanish, which has long been the common language in much of Miami, now dominates even broader sections of the city. In stores, banks, gyms and even boardrooms in much of Miami, Spanish is the default language. “You can come here as a businessman, a professional, and make five phone calls, all in Spanish, to set up the infrastructure for your business,” said Guillermo J. Grenier, a sociology professor at Florida International University. The effect on real estate is especially visible in the Brickell area, Miami’s international banking center, and in once-bedraggled parts of downtown. The South American infatuation with urban living has led to the explosion of lavish new condominium towers, with more to come. There is even rooftop soccer, like the kind offered in South America. Last year, David Beckham and Mr. Claure announced that they would bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami, though they are still in negotiations for a suitable stadium site. Sit in a restaurant and you hear a range of accents — the lilt of Argentine patter, the clarity of Colombian Spanish, the liveliness of Venezuelans and the speedy rat-a-tat of Cubans. Brazilians have sprinkled Portuguese into the mix. The flurry of condo construction now rivals the one before the 2008 crash, raising the specter for some housing analysts of another risky housing bubble. A Miami Downtown Development Authority study found that more than 90 percent of the demand for new downtown and Brickell residential units came from foreign buyers; 65 percent were from South America. “Status is having a condo in Miami,” said Juan C. Zapata, the first Colombian to serve as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and, before then, in the State Legislature. The suburbs, too, continue to swell as more South Americans move into areas anchored by people from their countries. Doral, a middle-class city near the airport, is now a panoply of South Americans, most of them Venezuelans. Eighty percent of Doral is Hispanic, and in 2012, a Venezuelan, Luigi Boria, was elected mayor. “Every year, we get more and more Venezuelans,” said Lorenzo Di Stefano, the owner of El Arepazo 2, a Venezuelan restaurant there. This year, with the economy worsening in Venezuela, Mr. Di Stefano said he expected another large wave. But, Mr. Crist’s running mate and Mr. Boria aside, the South American influx has not translated into widespread electoral success. South Americans lag far behind Cuban-Americans in political power, in part because their citizenship rate is lower. Many do not vote or run for office, a reality that Mr. Zapata said must change. “What you see in Miami is a change economically; it’s much more diverse than it used to be,” Mr. Zapata said. “But the Cubans grew economically, and turned it into political power.” That transformation, Mr. Zapata said, will be Miami’s next chapter. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/us/20miami.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=US_IOS_20140721&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=2
  6. Canada ranks 2nd among 10 countries for cost competitiveness, says KPMG THE CANADIAN PRESS 03.29.2016 TORONTO - Accounting giant KPMG says Canada has proven to be second most competitive market in a comparison test of 10 leading industrial countries. In its report, KPMG says Canada lags only behind Mexico when it comes to how little businesses have to pay for labour, facilities, transportation and taxes. The report, which compared the competitiveness of a number of western countries along with Australia and Japan, found that a high U.S. dollar has helped Canada stay affordable despite rising office real estate costs and lower federal tax credits. When it comes to corporate income taxes, it found that Canada, the U.K. and the Netherlands had the lowest rates overall due to tax incentives to support high-tech and research and development. KPMG also looked at the competitiveness of more than 100 cities worldwide. It ranked Fredericton, N.B., as the most cost-effective city in Canada due to low labour costs and continued low costs for property leases. Montreal topped the list among 34 major cities in North America, followed by Toronto and Vancouver. The three Canadian cities beat out all U.S. cities. Although there have been concerns over the impact of a weakening loonie on the economy, having a low Canadian dollar has actually been "a driver in improving Canada's competitiveness and overall cost advantage," KPMG said. As a result, that has made it more attractive for businesses to set up shop north of the border than in the U.S., it said. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/canada+ranks+among+countries+cost+competitiveness+says+kpmg/11817781/story.html
  7. (Courtesy of Urban Photo) Its an old article from 2008. Plus I found an another article about the grocery chain.
  8. (Courtesy of eitb.com) I hope Telefonica suffers for this. I feel bad for the people who use them. From what I read Telefonica operates 75% of Spains communications
  9. (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail) I have a feeling many women will be happy with this news.
  10. Pas de Camion à Déchets dans le QDS Source: Spacing Montreal There aren’t going to be any dump trucks blocking up the streets in Montreal’s new Quartier des Spectacles. Last Wednesday, the City approved a proposition to replace public trash cans with receptacles for garbage, recyclables and compostables, all hooked up to an vacuum-powered collection system. Waste placed in each receptacle would be sucked into a network of underground tubes and transported to a central processing location (possibly located in Place Desjardins). At first glance, this system may seem unduly costly and invasive, not to mention energy intensive. But since the streets in the QDS are already slotted to be ripped up in order to replace ageing sewers, aqueducts and power-lines, throwing in the waste-collection system will only cost an additional $8.2 million (according to a planner who worked on the proposal). Under the new system, garbage collection in the neighborhood would rely on electricity rather than fossil fuels, which may not be a bad idea given the cost and environmental impacts of burning fuel. Most importantly, the new garbage collection system would also apply to residents and businesses located in the Quartier des Spectacles. For instance, the restaurants in Place Desjardins would be able to be compost food scraps, saving several hundred tons of waste from landfills each year. Although Montreal is behind cities like Toronto who offer composting for household waste, this initiative would be the first in North America to offer composting on the public domain and for businesses. ENVAC, the European company that engineers these systems worldwide, built their first trash-vacuuming system in Stockholm in 1961 and it is still in operation (it has an expected lifespan of about 50 years, although that is probably standard for sewers and other infrastructure). Teaching the hoards of drunken festival-goers and clueless tourists to sort trash from recyclables and organic waste is a challenge for the future…
  11. Toronto : The downside of up TENILLE BONOGUORE Globe and mail Old Toronto is booming, thanks to a flood of new condo dwellers. So why are prime retail strips awash in 'for lease' signs? Tenille Bonoguore recently counted 54 empty storefronts on one stretch of Queen alone. With rents soaring, is it only cashed-up chains that can survive? The garlands were up, the Christmas songs were playing, but inside the Danforth Avenue store Paper and Presents, the mood was anything but merry. It was December, 2007, and instead of spreading good cheer, customers were hurling abuse about cross-border price discrepancies. Store owner Grace Wong was facing her second year without drawing a paycheque, and she was fed up with skyrocketing business costs. After 15 years as an independent retailer, she finally realized that it was time to go. "The Danforth has really changed. It's not as vibrant," Ms. Wong said this week from the store that will close this summer. "Stores are flipping, and nobody wants to take a chance. I wouldn't choose a place where stores keep flipping over. ... That's not a good sign." Like many tenant retailers, Ms. Wong pays both rent and part of the property taxes. The combination had reached $5,500 a month for her 800-square-foot storefront, a hike of 40 per cent in five years. Meanwhile, insurance had risen to $1,800 a year, up 50 per cent in 10 years, and other costs were soaring. She was caught in the unprecedented blaze of interest in downtown retailing that is reshaping Toronto's shopping strips, and threatens to turn the city into a whitewash of chain stores. Ms. Wong's is one of seven stores that have closed, or are preparing to close, this year in the Danforth Business Improvement Area. Thirty shut up shop last year, 10 of which had been open for less than two years. The empty storefronts don't reflect a lack of demand - just the opposite. Demand for downtown retail on hot strips like Queen Street, Bloor Street, Yonge at Dundas, and now Yonge at College, has driven up rents, speeding up turnover and forcing out the independent shops that made the strips vibrant in the first place. "A lot of landlords are making the rent so high because they're hoping for a Starbucks or a major chain to come in. They're waiting for the big guys," said Ms. Wong, who is opening an online Japanese paper store. Or storefronts turn into what Charlie Huisken, of This Ain't the Rosedale Library, calls "retail hotels" - a building that hosts a continuing rotation of short-lived ventures. "I don't know if that's a problem of [the retailers] lacking capital, or whether it's because the rents are too high. It might be a combination of the two. They pop up and just disappear," said Mr. Huisken, who recently moved his bookstore from Church and Wellesley to Kensington Market, partly because of escalating rent. Mr. Huisken believes that independent business can survive in the city centre only if retailers are given a mandatory option to buy property. Others wonder if the independents can survive at all. BIG BOX, BRAND OR BUST All of the factors that appear to help business - an influx of residents, increasing demand for downtown property - are sending independents running for shelter. John Crombie, senior managing director and national retail director for Cushman & Wakefield LePage, said he has never seen such demand for downtown retail space. Yorkville now commands rents of $300 per square foot, making it the third-priciest retail space in North America. Storefronts at Queen West and Spadina now cost $125 to $150 a square foot, and a ripple effect is washing across the city. The hot residential market of the past few years has had an impact too: Mushrooming condo developments seem poised to produce ready-made customer bases, which landlords can use as a basis for rent hikes. The condos can increase competition too, because of the retail spaces included in such developments. Meanwhile, Toronto businesses are paying some of the highest property-tax rates in North America, and subsidizing relatively lightly taxed residents. The City of Toronto has pledged to even that out over the next 15 years by shifting more of the tax burden from businesses to homeowners. But that could prove little comfort when new property valuations are issued this fall for the 2009 tax year, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business's Ontario vice-president, Judith Andrew. "If there are really trendy spots that are seeing values go way up ... their share of the total assessment pie goes up and their share of the tax bill goes up too. That's bad news for retailers, even if they're renting," Ms. Andrew said. As independents are being priced out of hot neighbourhoods, cashed-up chains and luxury or trendy brands are moving in, Mr. Crombie said. "There's no question that there's a [residential] filling-in, and they're saying it's more of an affluent consumer coming down," he said. That's an irresistible prospect for big-brand players Queen Street West is a perfect example of the cycle. The city's best-known shopping strip is full of chains, such as Gap, H&M, Zara, Billabong and HMV, that use cheaper, globally homogeneous product to nab the city's disposable income. Brand flagships are getting in on the action too, with Mexx opening its own storefront and Crocs about to do the same. As they move in, the displaced stores seek cheaper locations. Historically, that has meant moving farther west. Now, Queen Street is threatening to run out of western succour. Just look to Parkdale's speedy transformation from blighted hovel to boho-chic haven. "I think there's a frustration for the smaller ma-and-pa regional players, but what can you do? It's really only following consumer behaviour," Mr. Crombie said. "... I've never seen such an interest in downtown street properties." At the start of last year, the Greater Toronto Area had almost 185 million square feet of retail real estate, more than two-thirds of which was in shopping centres and big-box stores. Until now, suburban malls held the most appeal to retailers. But that changed for Toronto in 2007, according to Cushman & Wakefield LePage's annual report. Vacancies on retail strips dipped to 8.4 per cent in 2007, down from 8.5 per cent the previous year and 9.7 per cent five years previous. Meanwhile, vacancies in shopping centres rose to 7.4 per cent, up from 6.7 per cent in 2006. Danforth BIA president Glyn Laverick said it's essential that small businesses be given a helping hand if they are to survive. "There's not an awful lot of support from an institutional or governmental level for small business. There's really not a plethora of grants available if you're not opening a manufacturing company," Mr. Laverick said. One hopeful note is that there are still plenty of people bellying up for the challenge. While the Danforth BIA has lost 37 businesses since January, 2007, 29 others have opened up. NICHE IS THE WORD Studio Brillantine owner Ferdinand Suzara spent last Christmas doing a bit of shopping of his own. Eleven years after establishing the retail beachhead on West Queen West, the design boutique owner was on the hunt for a new 'hood. Not that there was anything wrong with his spot just west of Ossington: He had hoped to buy the building from his landlord, as they had discussed, but his landlord was in no rush to sell. And who could blame him? That part of town will soon welcome hundreds of new residents as part of the City of Toronto's Queen West Triangle densification plan. Mr. Suzara started looking elsewhere, snapping up a more affordable building in Parkdale instead. Studio Brillantine and its inventory of leading-edge design products had opened long before Ossington's hipster influx. So the posters announcing the move shocked the neighbourhood. "Our whole block is up for sale. It's just in the air for this block," Mr. Suzara said as he started preparing for the August move. The south-Roncesvalles area his store is moving to still holds the edgy appeal of Queen West's earlier days, he said, but the clock is ticking. By his reckoning, the chain stores will start arriving in five or 10 years. As the cycle gains speed, independents scramble to seek out the last shrinking oases of affordability. The Danforth's Carrot Common is one such hub. Roncesvalles Avenue where it meets Queen West is quickly becoming another. Shannon Doyle moved her gourmet nook The Mercantile to "Roncy" in May, despite having a legion of loyal customers on College Street. But the rental of her tiny College storefront was about to jump 45 per cent, by her calculations (a figure with which her landlord disagrees), and there was no way she could keep up. Plus, the College strip she had entered in 1999 had disappeared in a slew of bars. It was time to go. "You're really watching businesses move or close," said the diminutive Ms. Doyle, now happily serving her new regulars. " ... They're just flipping every year. You want to say to a landlord, 'Why not just have a good tenant and work with them?' "It has to stop eventually, or everything's a Gap." Space: the final frontier Source: Cushman & Wakefield LePage Toronto Retail Strips: Average Overall Vacancy 2002 - 9.7% 2006 - 8.5% 2007- 8.4% Retail Strip Examples: Vacancy Over 5 Years Yorkville 2002 - 10% 2007 - 7.7% Chinatown 2002 - 8.6% 2007 - 8.2% Pape & Danforth 2002 - 15% 2007 - 9% Yonge & Wellesley 2002 - 8.3% 2007 - 9.1% Dundas & Dufferin 2002 - 13.7% 2007 - 12.9% Source: Cushman and Wakefield LePage
  12. ?????? I HAVE ANOTHER LARGE GROUP OF BUSINESSES THAT ARE NOT LEGAL IN QUEBEC AND I DEMAND THAT THEY BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY ...TABERNACLE ON EST AU QUEBEC CALICE........!!!!! SO PLEASE OLF, DO YOUR F..KIN JOB AND CLOSE DOWN THESE TRAITES A NOTRE NATION ET NOTRE PEUPLE!!!!!.... WHERE THE FUCK IS THE FRENCH ON THESE F..KIN SIGNS ST-SACRAMENT!!!! AS A QUEBECKER I ASK THAT THESE BUSINESSES BE CLOSED NOW AND THAT THE OFFICE DE LANGUE FRANCAIS DOES ITS NOBLE DUTY AND GET THESE ASSHOLES TO OBEY THE LAW OF THE LAND...DEATH TO ANTOINE LAOUN, GREICH & SCAFF, BURN IN HELL NEW LOOKAND BACK TO YOUR LAND YOU BATARDS AT LENSCRAFTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...... :duh: :duh: :dizzy: :yikes: :yikes: :openmouth: :openmouth: :banghead: :flamed:
  13. The truth will set you free... !!! It’s been a little more than a month since the Liberal government of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard released its belt-tightening budget, and since then everyone from movie producers and doctors to teachers and mayors has griped about the cuts it promises. They shouldn’t be surprised. Couillard campaigned on a pledge to fix Quebec’s “economic fiasco.” But a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute offers a stark reminder of how difficult that task will be. The report, authored by Philip Cross, the former chief economist at Statistics Canada, shows the extent to which the economies of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes now rely on public sector versus private sector investment for growth. Condensed version: a whole honking lot. Investment spending refers to money spent on structures, machinery and equipment, and since 2000, the report notes, public sector investment as a share of GDP has nearly doubled in Quebec to almost six per cent. At the same time, business investment—you know, by actual companies—has stagnated at seven per cent. That’s put Quebec near the bottom of the pack, alongside Ontario, and a notch above New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Business investment is the lifeblood of economic growth,” Cross wrote in an opinion piece. “It determines what the economy will look like years from now, and how competitive its workers will be.” Of course, to have business investment, you’ve got to have businesses. And that’s where Quebec faces serious problems that run far deeper than any single austerity budget can hope to tackle. In December, Statistics Canada released a largely overlooked research paper that examined the rates at which new businesses have been joining and leaving the marketplace in each province. The creation of new firms and the destruction of old ones, through consolidation or closure, is key to a vibrant economy, bringing in new ideas and innovations and forcing existing businesses to pick up their game. You can probably guess where Quebec ranked, but I’ll tell you anyway. From 2000 to 2009, no province had lower so-called “firm entry” than Quebec. In fact, in the manufacturing, retail, transportation and finance sectors, more companies went away than were created. No other province had that level of “destruction” without the customarily accompanying “creative.” Related: Maybe Harper has slain the separatists The charter may be gone, but Quebec’s identity crisis remains Why Justin Trudeau risks alienating Quebec It gets worse. Another report from a few months ago, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, measured the levels of entrepreneurialism across Canada. It did so by looking at the percentage of working-age adults who are either engaged in setting up a business or who own a wage-paying business that’s existed for less than 42 months. On that front, too, Quebec came dead last, with an entrepreneurship rate of 9.6 per cent, compared to 11.9 per cent in Ontario and close to 19 per cent in Alberta. Quebec Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Sylvain Carle, an entrepreneur in Montreal who’s started several companies, recently shared an anecdote with the Montreal Gazette that sums up Quebec’s sluggish start-up culture. While attending a conference at Stanford University, a speaker had asked how many people in the audience of 100 were starting their own companies, and 105 hands went up, since some were multi-preneurs. When Carle asked the same question to a similar-sized audience in Montreal a few weeks later, five hands went up. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in rocketry to know why all this is the case. For decades Quebec businesses have been plagued with repeated bouts of separation anxiety and the constant irritant of the province’s language police. The province punishes businesses with some of the highest taxes in North America, yet it has rung up a $2.4-billion deficit and a debt load equal to half its GDP, the highest in the country. When not arbitrarily overriding the rights of shareholders to protect underperforming Quebec companies, the government has flip-flopped on its attitude toward resource development. In short, it’s an economic environment layered with uncertainty, instability and state interference. For the longest time, the solution from the Quebec government to its stagnant business environment was more Quebec government, in the form of state-sponsored funds doling out cheques to those it deems to be worthy entrepreneurs. Just this past March, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pension fund, that bastion of economic nationalism, joined with Desjardins Group to create a fund to pump $230 million into small and medium-sized enterprises, having already distributed $190 million to 186 other companies through an earlier fund. And yet the level of business creation is stuck in neutral. This is what Couillard faces. He’s said all the right things about tackling Quebec’s fiscal crisis: “The time for cosmetic changes is gone,” he said in his throne speech in May. “We must act firmly and decisively. And we will.” His far bigger challenge remains to make Quebec a place where entrepreneurs would want to set up shop. The best way he can do that is to get his government out of the way.
  14. Five-stars for Foster design Luxury Heathrow hotel given Mayoral seal of approval Foster + Partners’ design for a new five-star hotel on Bath Road, close to Heathrow Airport has been approved by the Mayor of London. The only five-star hotel in the area, it will offer a range of services, including the most extensive conference facilities of any London hotel, to serve the local community and businesses, as well as passengers using Heathrow. The hotel, developed by Riva Properties is characterised by a distinctive layered glass shell, which floods the public spaces with daylight. Articulated as a 13-storey structure, several levels are sunk into the ground, keeping the building’s profile low in response to the immediate surroundings. The rooms are contained within six pavilions, linked by bridges and wrapped in a unifying glass envelope, which acts as a barrier to aircraft noise. The entrance lobby has a floating glass deck with views down to the sunken restaurant level, shallow pool and waterfall. This restaurant floor is accessed via a timber walkway and incorporates a business centre, as well as a variety of venues to eat and drink. The double-height conference facilities, which have their own reception to allow separate access from street-level, encircle a top-lit atrium that brings natural light deep into the building and down to the lower levels. As well as a selection of meeting venues and breakout areas, there is a flexible 1,200-capacity ballroom, two auditoriums and a large conference room. The bowling centre that currently occupies the site will be reinstated within the new scheme at basement level and will remain a public facility. The hotel also incorporates a health centre with a pool, gym, saunas and treatment rooms. Grant Brooker, Executive Director at Foster + Partners, said: “This will be the first five-star hotel in the immediate vicinity of Heathrow and marks a key stage in the area's transformation. We have enjoyed great support and encouragement from local residents, businesses and the Borough of Hillingdon and we believe that the hotel’s wide range of facilities will ensure that it plays a vital role in serving both international travellers and the local community.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11465
  15. A facelift for St. Jacques? Tue, 2008-09-02 16:04. Shuyee Lee St. Jacques Street in NDG is known mainly for car dealerships, auto repair shops, seedy motels, vacant lots and empty storefronts. But the borough wants to give it a facelift and attract more residents and stores. It's proposing a bylaw that would bar new body shops, gas stations and other industrial business from opening up and rezone the area as mostly residential with room for restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores and similar "user-friendly" businesses. They're focussing on the stretch between Madison and Decarie. The existing industrial businesses would be allowed to stay. A public consultation is being held tonight at 6pm at 5151 Côte-Sainte-Catherine.
  16. Flat tax would make today's tax-filing ordeal simpler and more fair NIELS VELDHUISThe Gazette Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Today is the tax-filing deadline. As we hunkered down over our computers and waded through piles of receipts and pages of complicated forms this month, many of us rightly questioned the complexity of Canada's tax system. The total costs associated with paying personal income taxes and the cost of tax software and accounting services amount to upward of $3.9 billion a year. It need not be this way. If Canada adopted a flat tax, taxpayers could complete and file their taxes in about five minutes on a postcard-size tax form. A recent study, A Flat Tax for Canada, by tax expert and University of Stanford Professor Alvin Rabushka, proposes just that: a 15-per-cent flat tax and postcard-size tax returns for both individuals and businesses. The 15-per- cent flat tax would collect the same amount of revenue as the federal government currently collects but do so in a manner that is much less damaging and distorting. The flat tax would simplify Canada's tax code through the elimination of nearly all deductions, exemptions and credits that complicate the current tax system. For individuals, only a few basic calculations would be needed to determine the amount of tax owing or refund due. Simply add up one's income from wages, salaries, and retirement benefits; subtract the basic personal exemption (the amount of income individuals can earn tax free); and multiply the remainder by 15 per cent. Gone are the numerous and interlinked tax forms of the present personal-income-tax system; gone are the myriad of tax credits and deductions; and gone is the complicated and time-consuming paperwork. Individuals would no longer need to report income derived from such sources as dividends, capital gains, or interest, as these types of income would be taxed at their source - the business level. This means businesses would pay tax on all the income they generate except the income earned by workers. For approximately 85 per cent of Canadian taxpayers, filling out a postcard tax return would be all that is required to pay their income taxes. The self-employed and a few others would need to fill out an equally simple business tax form. For businesses, all income from the sale of goods and services would be subject to the flat tax. Deductions would be limited to the cost of materials, wages and salaries, and capital investments (buildings, equipment and land). Other income would be taxed at the same rate as individual income. Not only would a flat tax dramatically simplify the tax system, it would also have a significant impact on the Canadian economy. First, a flat tax would replace the existing four federal income-tax rates with one low rate thereby eliminating the barrier that discourages Canadians from saving, investing or working harder to earn more money. Research clearly shows that tax rates that increase as individuals earn more money through hard work act as a disincentive for such work. A flat tax would also have a significant impact on investment in Canada. Since businesses are permitted to deduct the full value of capital investments (buildings, equipment and land) in the year of purchase, the tax burden on investments would be significantly reduced and would increase the amount of investment undertaken by businesses. International evidence clearly shows that Canada would benefit greatly from a flat tax. In fact, more than 20 jurisdictions around the world, most notably Hong Kong and more recently a number of former Soviet republics, have implemented flat taxes. Hong Kong built itself into an economic giant using the flat tax as its fiscal anchor. Similarly, Slovakia, which adopted a flat tax in 2004, has since become Europe's fastest growing economy and a beacon for foreign investment. At this time of year most Canadians become frustrated at just how unwieldy, complicated, and littered with exemptions for special interests our tax code has become. Replacing Canada's personal and business income-tax system with a flat tax will save money, make everyone's taxes easier to calculate, and strengthen the Canadian economy. A few key strokes on a calculator, a minute or two to fill out a postcard return, and voilà, off to Ottawa, with love. Niels Veldhuis is director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/editorial/story.html?id=1bf2b616-0b3e-456d-9a44-5d51eeeb04b0
  17. via le site de Microsoft : Press Release MICROSOFT CLOUD TO TOUCH DOWN IN CANADA Locally deployed Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online will help power Canadian business Toronto, June 2, 2015 – Microsoft today announced plans to deliver commercial cloud services from Canada. Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online will be delivered from Toronto and Quebec City in 2016, further strengthening Microsoft’s footprint in Canada’s competitive cloud landscape. “Soon, the Microsoft Cloud will be truly Canadian,” said Kevin Turner, Worldwide Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft, who travelled to Toronto to make the announcement. “This substantial investment in a Canadian cloud demonstrates how committed we are to bringing even more opportunity to Canadian businesses and government organizations, helping them fully realize the cost savings and flexibility of the cloud,” said Turner. According to IDC, total public cloud spend in Canada is projected to grow to $2.5B by next year. The fastest growth will be from Public cloud infrastructure with a strong 45 per cent increase by 2016. These new locally deployed services will address data residency considerations for Microsoft customers and partners of all shapes and sizes who are embracing cloud computing to transform their businesses, better manage variable workloads and deliver new digital services and experiences to customers and employees. General availability of Azure is anticipated in early 2016, followed by Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online later in 2016. Janet Kennedy, President of Microsoft Canada, says delivering cloud services from data centres on Canadian soil opens up significant new cloud-based possibilities for organizations who must adhere to strict data storage compliance codes. “We’re very proud to be delivering the Microsoft Cloud right here in Canada, for the benefit of Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and small businesses. Delivering the flexibility of hyper-scale, enterprise grade, locally deployed public cloud services is the ultimate Canadian hat trick.” Canadian Customers Already Using Cloud Today Canadian customers of all sizes are already in the Microsoft Cloud. Even today, Microsoft delivers cloud-based email, Office 365, and CRM Online to more than 80,000 Canadian businesses. Companies like Air Canada, Quebecor and Hatch are saving money while empowering their employees to collaborate, be more productive and mobile with Office 365, Yammer, and Skype for Business. “Information systems and technology continue to be a differentiator for Hatch as it helps us to gain advantages in the marketplace – our use of Microsoft cloud is an integral part of this success. We are now able to focus on our business while benefiting from all the innovation Microsoft offers with a Service Level Agreement we can count on.” Christopher Taylor, Global Director, Hatch. Diply.com is a great example of an Ontario-based start-up leveraging Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud-based infrastructure. The company delivers 850M page views per month on Microsoft Azure and owns no servers. Diply.com is able to rent servers from Microsoft by the hour based simply on the demand they receive. “We only pay for what we use,” said Gary Manning, CTO and co-founder at Diply.com. “We estimate our cost per 1,000 users is only $0.07! We’d never be able to build that back-end infrastructure ourselves.” Governments in Canada Welcome the Microsoft Cloud Ontario’s Deputy Premier and President of Treasury Board, Deb Matthews, applauded Microsoft’s commitment to enabling Ontario businesses to compete globally. “This commitment by Microsoft will further enhance the ability of Ontario’s innovative business sector to thrive and compete with the best in the world,” said Matthews. “To date more than 3,200 Canadian startups have benefited from joining the free BizSpark program, many of which are based in Ontario. By bringing the power of the cloud to Canada and providing free access through BizSpark, our entrepreneurs can truly compete with the best in the world.” John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, praised the announcement as a significant boost to Toronto’s digital infrastructure. “Together with Microsoft, we’re bringing Toronto into the 21st Century,” said Mayor John Tory. “Toronto is home to a skilled and talented work force that is ready to bring ideas to life. The City is committed to investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure that’s needed to attract good jobs and fuel innovation.” Tory noted that it’s estimated that more than 14,000 jobs in Toronto are connected to cloud computing. To learn more about Microsoft’s cloud touching down in Canada visit reimagine.microsoft.ca Additional Quotes “Microsoft gives us the high-performance infrastructure we need to handle major fluctuations in traffic and demand for a majority of our media websites,” said Richard Roy, Vice President of IT and Chief Technology Officer, Quebecor. “We only pay for what we use, eliminating the need for costly up-front investment in hardware. Microsoft has completely transformed the way we build new IT environments – what used to take days or weeks can now be done in a matter of minutes. Our move to Microsoft’s cloud with has enabled us to innovate rapidly in response to changing forces in our industry.” “We decided to move to the cloud with the Office 365 suite because of the globalization of CDPQ’s investment activities and our need for simplified collaboration among our teams around the world”, said Pierre Miron, CDPQ’s Executive Vice-President, Operations and Information Technologies. “CDPQ also welcomes Microsoft’s decision to establish two data centers in Canada, one in Quebec City and the other in Toronto,” added Miron. “The City of Regina partnered with Microsoft Canada in 2013 to become one of Canada’s first public sector organizations to embrace Office365,” said Chris Fisher, Director of IT, City of Regina. “That strategic decision, which raised eyebrows amongst our peers, continues to pay dividends as the product matures. It is helping the City find cost-effective ways for employees to efficiently communicate with each other and the public.” “As proud Canadians and creators of the world’s first 100% cloud-based digital asset management system, we’re eagerly awaiting the new Canadian data centres coming online next year,” said David MacLaren, President & CEO of MediaValet. “Since launching the first version of MediaValet in late 2010, we’ve had opportunities to work with healthcare, government and higher education organizations in Canada, but been hampered by their rigorous data compliance needs. Microsoft’s investment in a Canadian cloud will open up doors to significant sectors of the Canadian market and help us grow our market share on home soil.” About Microsoft Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Inc. is the Canadian subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has nine regional offices across the country dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit www.microsoft.ca. For further information, please contact: Natasha Beynon Veritas Communications [email protected] 416.640.4660
  18. We Win We Win!! #1! It can never be said enough, apparently: Quebecers continue to pay some of the highest taxes in North America, according to a new study released today by Canadian public-policy think-tank the Fraser Institute. The study, Quebec’s Tax Competitiveness: A Barrier to Prosperity, compares Quebec’s personal, corporate, and payroll tax rates to other Canadian provinces and American states in 2014, and examines the effect on Quebec’s economic performance over the past 10 years. “Across the income scale, Quebecers pay more in taxes than virtually anyone else in Canada and the United States,” said Sean Speer, study co-author and associate director of the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Fiscal Studies. For example, Quebecers making $50,000 a year pay 16.37 per cent in provincial income taxes, the highest rate among all Canadian provinces and U.S. states, while Quebecers making $150,000 pay 20.97 per cent, the second highest rate for that income category. Quebec also has a higher corporate tax rate (11.9 per cent) than Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. Quebec’s lack of tax competitiveness, particularly for individuals, has contributed to a relatively poor economic performance over the past decade, the study says. When taxes are high, individuals save less money, fewer new businesses spring up, and established businesses hire less people and curb their investments, the study says. “There’s no doubt taxes play a vital role in society, but to improve Quebec’s economic prospects and competitiveness in North America, Quebecers and the Quebec businesses need a lighter tax burden,” Speer said. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  19. https://blog.cogecopeer1.com/why-montreal-is-fast-emerging-as-canadas-cloud-hub?utm_campaign=FY16%20Inbound%20GLOBAL%20Mar%20Colocation%20Digital&utm_content=32715745&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin
  20. Contrôler les propos sur les réseaux sociaux, c'est une mesure complètement dépassée. Que vont-ils faire plus tard? S'attaquer aux applications mobiles parce qu'elles ne sont pas en français? Complètement R-I-D-I-C-U-L-E! Quebec language watchdog targets Facebook page Social media the new frontier for agency probing Ottawa-area retail boutique By Joel Balsam CHELSEA, QUE. — The agency in charge of enforcing the primacy of the French language in Quebec apparently has a new target — social media. Eva Cooper, the owner of a small retail boutique called Delilah in the Parc, has been notified by the language agency that if she doesn't translate the shop's Facebook page into French, she will face an injunction, which will carry consequences such as a fine. "Ultimately, to me, Facebook has nothing to do with Quebec," said Cooper, who uses the social media site to inform customers of new products in her boutique in Chelsea, north of Ottawa. The shop has an all-bilingual staff of fewer than 10 people. "I'm happy to mix it up, but I'm not going to do every post half in French, half in English. I think that that defeats the whole purpose of Facebook," said Cooper, who has requested the agency send her their demands in English. Cooper's case represents a new frontier for the language agency, the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF). The agency says probes of social media complaints, which started only recently, are "not frequent." This all comes amid election talk in the province. Diane De Courcy, Quebec minister of immigration and cultural communities, said earlier this week that if her party wins the next election, they will toughen language laws for small businesses. In particular, the Parti Québécois will crack down on bilingualism, such as the "Bonjour-Hi" greeting used in many areas including Chelsea and Montreal. Traditionally, the language agency has targeted non-Francophone businesses that have signs or promotional material in a language other than French, but there have been some instances of small businesses' websites being targeted as well. In 2011, a smokehouse in Chelsea was threatened with a $1,000 fine if it didn't translate its website into French, and earlier this month, a Montreal-based website called "Provocateur Communications" was told it must comply with the French language charter by translating its page. Still, the question of how the agency is able to dictate what goes on social media in particular is "really murky," said Cooper. "Would I be able to do my text in English on (Pinterest or) Twitter?" The notice addressed to Cooper is dated Feb. 7 — almost a calendar year to the day when the "pastagate" scandal made international headlines after a Montreal restaurant was investigated for having the word "pasta" on the menu instead of the French word "pâtes." The fallout led to the resignation of the language agency's president and the launch of a "triage system" for complaints to prioritize cases that had the most impact. "This is not consistent with what the OQLF said after they evaluated their approach last spring around complaints," said Sylvia Martin-Laforge, director general of the Quebec Community Groups Network, which represents 41 English organizations. "She's in Chelsea. (Her Facebook page) has only 602 likes. There is no gravity to this. This is ridiculous," said Martin-Laforge. Jean-Pierre Le Blanc, spokesperson for the language agency, wouldn't comment specifically on Cooper's notice, but explained how Quebec's language law applies to Facebook. "If you talk to your friends, it's not a problem, but if it's the sale or promotion of a product or service, (it must be in French)," he said. "Our demand is this: if you sell in Quebec, it must be in French." Cooper has until March 10 to respond to the notice before she is hit with the injunction that could lead to a fine. If the language agency goes the route of asking Facebook to take down Cooper's page, it would have to prove the page violates Facebook's community standards, which prohibit the use of graphic content, hate speech, spam or harassment. Facebook does have the power to block the IP address of the page in a specific area or country if it violates the law, but this is reserved for extreme circumstances.
  21. (Courtesy of The Register) Now all Google has to become Google Government or Google Mint
  22. I was reading by 2012 the corporate taxes in Canada will be down to 15% plus add the 9% for Quebec (currently), it be 24% for corporate taxes. I honestly can see more businesses moving from the US here. From what I am getting off a site right now, here in Quebec the Corporate tax is 32.02%. Which is slightly lower then most states. Bring on more businesses to Canada. OT: Now for the CRTC to auction of the mobile frequencies so we can have more wireless providers in Canada. Probably will happen by then because of WiMax should be the norm.
  23. Quebec businesses to feel pain Our exports set to slow. But local companies well-equipped to weather storm, experts say PAUL DELEAN, The Gazette Published: 9 hours ago It's shaping up to be a winter of discontent in corporate Quebec. Financial upheaval in the United States, Quebec's largest trading partner, has left a lot of companies feeling pinched and dreading the prospect of a full-fledged recession if the U.S. can't resolve its banking crisis. "Winter will be difficult for small and medium-size businesses that export to the U.S.," said former Caisse de Dépot et Placement executive Michel Nadeau, now director-general of the Institut sur la gouvernance d'organisations privées et publiques. "The U.S. economy is slowing. Clients there are squeezed on the credit front. They'll be buying less and wanting deals from their suppliers. And if there's no resolution of the current (bailout) impasse within the next two weeks, Quebec companies risk being being badly hurt." About 80 per cent of Quebec's exports go to the United States, where the credit crunch has put the brakes on consumer spending and ready lending. Suppliers of wood, automotive, industrial and consumer products were among the first to feel the pain. "For businesses selling to the U.S., it's definitely going to have an effect in terms of the revenues they can generate," said Susan Christoffersen, associate professor at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management. "So much of the Canadian economy is correlated with the U.S." Jayson Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said many U.S. clients have stopped paying on time, leaving Canadian suppliers "holding the bag." "There's a lot of real concern (among members)," he said. "Conditions had been tightening for three or four months before all this. There was not a lot of profit margin out there to absorb all these shocks." A couple of factors have helped alleviate the blow so far for Quebec businesses. Most have made adaptations in the past two years to become more productive and efficient to cope with the impact of higher commodity prices and a rapidly rising Canadian dollar. And that same dollar has retreated about 15 per cent from its high, to around 94 cents (U.S.) yesterday, making Quebec exports more competitive. Yvon Bolduc, president and chief executive of the Quebec Federation of Labour's Solidarity Fund, said Quebec companies are better prepared for the current crisis than they were for the one in which the Solidarity Fund was created 25 years ago. "For many years, we were competitive because of the dollar. We surfed on its weakness," he said. Despite the strong loonie and credit markets that were already tighter because of last year's financial debacle, asset-backed commercial paper, the private companies in which the Solidarity Fund is invested actually posted a positive return in the latest fiscal year, Bolduc said. The Solidarity Fund provides companies with capital to help them expand and adapt. At a time when other lenders might be unreceptive, it can be a lifeline. Last year, it provided $730 million to 140 companies. That was $120 million more than it had budgeted, Bolduc said. While exporting companies clearly are most vulnerable to a U.S. pullback, there are also signs of a spending slowdown at home as Canadian consumers grow more cautious. Clothing retailers have seen flat to lower sales in recent quarters, and Canadian housing sales and prices have begun to slip. The Quebec economy figures to get some ongoing lift, however, from the ambitious, multi-year infrastructure-renewal program undertaken by the Charest government. "What we have experienced so far is a banking crisis, not an economic crisis," said Simon Prévost, vice-president (Quebec) of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. "It could become an economic crisis, but we're not there yet." Prévost said there was actually an increase in business confidence in Quebec in the CFIB's last survey in early September, with oil prices and the dollar both declining, and Canadian financial institutions still eager to lend. "Small business owners didn't see any problems getting money from banks (at that time)," he said. "It's changed a little bit, but it's not a big deal yet." In the same survey, 34 per cent of businesses reported growing demand for their products. Fewer than 10 per cent said demand was down. [email protected]
  24. Toronto : Moving on out - to 905 Crazy' property taxes have forced the hand of hundreds of T.O. businesses in recent years By BRYN WEESE, SUN MEDIA Three years ago, Les Liversidge packed up his successful law office and moved out of Toronto. He didn't go far. Liversidge took his practice, his law books and his taxes across Steeles Ave. into Markham. It wasn't a move he wanted to make, rather a "simple business decision" to escape Toronto's "crazy" taxes. He's far from alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of Toronto's businesses over the past several years have packed up their shops, factories and offices and moved to the 905. In the iconic Danforth area, for example, 30% of retailers there now won't be around next year, according to a neighbourhood business survey. Toronto's high commercial property taxes are making rents uncompetitive and unaffordable, city business groups say. 'MOM AND POP BAKERY' "If you're paying $10,000 in taxes for your little mom and pop bakery, you'd have to bake a lot of buns just to pay your tax bill," said Judith Andrew, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Ontario, which has more than 4,000 members in Toronto. "I could see for many people, unless you absolutely had to be in the city, you'd want to run your business somewhere else." Liversidge sold his Willowdale office (a house he "loved" that had been converted into a commercial space) at Yonge St. and Steeles Ave. when it no longer "made sense" to keep it because of burdensome taxes. "I don't remember what my taxes were when I bought (the building) in 1992, which to me means they were not significant," Liversidge said. He recalls paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of $6,000 and $8,000 in taxes annually. But a dozen years later, thanks to property tax changes, provincial downloading, double digit spending and tax increases by city council, Liversidge's tax bill, like those of every business in Toronto, went through the roof. His taxes hit $27,000 a year by 2005. "More significant, I think, was a lack of predictability," Liversidge said. "I had no confidence that commercial real estate taxes would be controlled in any reasonable way," he said. He now rents about the same amount of space in a new, modest-sized three-storey office building. His rent is less than what his taxes were in 2004 in Toronto, even though the two buildings are only about five minutes apart. JOB GROWTH STAGNANT "I would much prefer to be in Toronto, but it makes no sense," Liversidge said. "If this building was located 300 yards south (on the other side of Steeles in Toronto), I don't think I could afford it." In 2005, the property taxes on a 250,000-square-foot office in the 905 were roughly $800,000 less than in Toronto. These numbers come from a study the City of Toronto conducted and are the most recent available. Business groups, however, maintain the numbers are still reasonably accurate and applicable today. As a consequence, employment growth in the 905 skyrocketed while job growth in the city has been stagnant and even suffered erosion. Between 2000 and 2006, the 905 region added more than 300,000 jobs while Toronto lost 23,700 jobs. Looking further back, over the past two decades, the 905 has added 800,000 jobs while employment in Toronto is still about 20,000 below its peak in 1989. Back in 2002, a city report optimistically projected 1.84 million new jobs would be created by 2031, a number officials now suggest is less a "goal" and more a "target." The falloff is in part attributable to migration of business, particularly small and medium-sized companies, in everything from manufacturing, and accommodation to administrative support and transportation. Toronto's commercial and industrial taxes are higher than its neighbours for several reasons. In part, relatively lower residential property taxes have put more of a burden on businesses operating in the city. "It's all well and good to cushion residents ... however, at a certain point, people don't have to be here and they do leave," Andrew said. Also in part, Toronto's business education tax rates are higher than those paid in the 905. That's supposed to change, but not until 2014. The bottom line, for business, is a tax disparity they can't afford to ignore. Cindy Anisman, a spokesman for Kingsdown Sleep Systems, credits moving from the intersection of Hwys. 401 and 400 to Vaughan two years ago with their company's growing success. Their facility in Vaughan is 120,000 square feet and employs more than 100 people. "We needed to expand our business, and the only place that you could actually find an area big enough was north in Vaughan," she said. "Taxes are lower, and utilities in a brand new building are a lot cheaper, too." 'NO-BRAINER TO MOVE' "It was a no-brainer to move," she added. "We're just sorry we didn't make this move earlier." Toronto officials are fully aware of the taxation problem, and council has passed several new measures to try to stop the bleeding. Three months ago, the city started a new program that allows manufacturers to improve their buildings or create a new building and get a "tax holiday" from higher taxes for a decade on the upgrade. "It's the first of its kind anywhere, I believe," Christine Raissis, director of the city's strategic growth and sector services, told the Sunday Sun. For the past few years, the city has also waived development charges on new commercial and industrial buildings, which it collects to pay for infrastructure such as roads and sewers. "We forgo those, partly on the basis that our business and commercial property taxes are higher, so we're trying to do what we can in the short term to balance that (tax) differential," said Randy McLean, the city's economic policy manager. "We're forgiving the front end development charges because we want the jobs." It makes a difference. For a 100,000-square-foot industrial or small office development, those charges would amount to $827,000. Toronto has also implemented a three-year-old plan to lower its commercial to residential property tax ratio to 2.5 to 1 within 10 years from its current 4-1 ratio -- to narrow the gap between what homeowners pay relative to business owners. It's still dramatically higher than ratios in 905 communities but Andrew from the CFIB said at least Toronto is "heading in the right direction." Other critics are less understanding. "The city's proposal to bring the tax ratio in line ... is worthless because, at a minimum you're looking at 10 years before they achieve that level," said Lionel Miskin, v-p of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. "And each year your taxes still go up, but the residential tax rate is going up faster than the commercial rate." "Maybe people will be happy about it in 10 years, if there is anyone working in the city anymore," he added. "I would say it is a crisis situation." But Toronto council isn't the only level of government responsible for this city's jobs and businesses relocating to the 905. Provincial education taxes are also a sore point. In 2007, the Ontario government unveiled plans to equalize business education taxes across the province. 'VITALITY IN THE CITY' Historically, Toronto's Business Education Taxes were significantly higher than those paid in the GTA and will remain higher until the province completes its equalization plan in 2014. Steven Sorensen, who chairs the Toronto Office Coalition, argues city and provincial measures need to be put in place sooner if the city is serious about retaining businesses and creating jobs. "I think the benefits of introducing these measures in a more prompt fashion would pay off many times over in terms of the economic growth and vitality in the city," he said. The city counters the cost of lowering the commercial tax ratio sooner would cost $600 million to $700 million. However, the argument of when to lower taxes may be moot. For the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, the only real solution to the city's high business taxation woes is to develop a new taxation system. The BIA association believes Ontario's property tax assessment system, which regularly updates the tax value of properties, is flawed and unfair. The CFIB also thinks the city needs to focus on its core duties -- roads, public health, welfare and parks -- and curtail its spending habits to make Toronto more tax competitive. In fact, a recent survey of its Toronto members -- all of them small and medium-sized businesses -- found 86% think the city needs to eliminate wasteful spending. Among other things, the CFIB wants the city to contract out more services for competitive bidding, and do away with its fair wage policy, which requires private non-union companies doing work for the city to pay their employees city rates. But the city, for its part, rejects the notion Toronto's taxes are posing a crisis for the business community. In fact, the city argues, there are currently three new skyscrapers being built in the downtown core for a total estimated investment of about $1 billion. BANKS, STOCK EXCHANGE The city is still the financial capital of Canada, home to the headquarters of five of the country's six national banks, 90% of Canada's foreign banks and the nation's largest stock exchange. There is also growth in several important industries, namely computer systems, finance, health and education, which Raissis argues creates a synergy with the outlying areas of Toronto, whose specialty is mainly manufacturing. "The performance of 905 is important to Toronto, and the performance of Toronto is important to 905," she said. "It's one economic region, but it's not homogeneous." "We are not here to compete against the 905, we're all here as a region to present Toronto as an international market place," she said.