Category Archives: properties on well and septic

Nunavut’s social housing faces billion-dollar shortfall – Half the territory lives in social housing, and newly built units cover only a fraction of the need

Palluq Chouinard has been temporarily house-sitting at a friend's place in Iqaluit with her daughter and two grandchildren. The 53-year-old has been homeless for the past 14 years.

By nightfall, her only thought was where she was going to find a place to sleep.

When she had no other place to turn, she would find her way to the bathroom floor of the hospital.

“I ended up sleeping on the floor, wherever I could to find a warm place,” said Palluq Chouinard.

“That’s what I’ve done.”

The 53-year-old has been homeless in Iqaluit for more than a decade. Fourteen years ago she separated from her husband and was kicked out of her home.

“In the daytime it’s okay. But when it’s dark, around 6 or 7 at night I have to start thinking, who’s going to be kind, and who’s going to [welcome me] to their house?”

“Even though when I’m sick or I’m in pain, I don’t show it because I’m homeless.”

More than 3,000 households in Nunavut are estimated to be homeless and waiting for g​overnment-assisted housing, according to the Nunavut Housing Corporation. Under the government agency’s definition, a household can mean parents with children, a single person, or some other family arrangement.

Getting through the backlog can take years.

Chouinard has been waiting for the past five. But last month, she learned her wait will soon be over.

IQA graphic


Half of Nunavut lives in social housing, many of the units overcrowded.

“I’ve seen as high as 22 people staying in a three-bedroom unit that was 1,200 square feet,” said Lori Kimball, the president and CEO of the Nunavut Housing Corporation.

Right now, there are 2,313 households on the waiting list to get into social housing, though Kimball estimates the need is much higher. Many don’t bother applying, she says, because of the severe shortage.

‘I’ve seen as high as 22 people staying in a three-bedroom unit that was 1,200 square feet.’– Lori Kimball, president and CEO, Nnavut Housing Corporation

“They just don’t exist,” she said.

“There’s not enough roofs to house everybody in Nunavut.”

She estimates that meeting the demand will take more than $1 billion.

The executive director at the men’s shelter in Iqaluit sees many come through the doors who have spent years waiting.

“We’ve had clients here for as long as 10 years who have been on the waiting list for housing as long as that,” Doug Cox said.

The shelter has 20 beds but usually sleeps 25. The hallway is crammed with bags of clothing and other belongings of the men who frequent it.

“Most of them have become uncomfortably satisfied to just wait, knowing that the chances are very slim that they’ll ever get a place,” Cox said.

Not enough money

In 2013, the federal government announced $100 million to add to the more than 5,000 public housing units that already exist in the territory.

“We’re just wrapping up those units now,” Kimball said. The 213 units are expected to open within the year.

“We didn’t get an announcement last spring. We were hoping to. Which means next summer there’s really nothing going to be built other than what the Government of Nunavut can afford to build, which is a much, much smaller number of units.”

This year, the territory committed $10 million towards building public housing units. With an average cost of a unit $400,000, it’s only enough to cover a fraction of the need.

“You can’t build it if you don’t have the money to pay for it.”

The ideal scenario says Kimball is a long-term funding commitment from the federal government to develop a 20-year plan that would see the territory build 200 housing units a year.

“We can build that many units per year, logistically. We need the money,” Kimball said.

Moving in

Since the spring, Chouinard has been temporarily house-sitting at a friend’s place, living with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Last month she found out she’ll soon have a place of her own.

After years of battling drug and alcohol addictions, suicide attempts and years without a home, this woman who owns almost nothing is finally going to get an apartment.

“I don’t mind about the furniture,” she said.

“I just want my house keys. That’s it.”

Source: By John Van Dusen, CBC News Posted: Aug 15, 2015 5:00 AM 

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Affordable cottage living remains within reach

All the luxuries of home in a quaint cottage setting.

Many of us have, at some point, dreamt of one day owning a family cottage. In the last few decades those who have yet to fulfill this dream have likely seen the opportunity of cottage ownership slip away due to what is no longer an affordable reality or a purchase price worth the financial burden or risk.

What goes up may eventually come down when interest rates rise, however, as will the cost of borrowing, and we’ll never see prices return back down the glory days when you could purchase a cottage for a few hundred thousand dollars or less. Even your average two-bedroom fixer-upper can go for $500,000 or more, unless you’re willing to travel much further north. Good investment? That’s debatable.

What other options are there to choose from, aside from fractional ownership or timeshares? Those words haunt most people’s dreams; after all, the only time you should be sharing is with your family around the campfire.

The alternative, more affordable option many people are discovering is Park Model Cottage ownership at Cherry Beach Resort in Prince Edward County, steps away from Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Brand new 2015 Park Model summer cottages at Cherry Beach Resort start at $59,900* for a two-bedroom open-concept model. The highest-priced three-bedroom model sells for $129,900*, with add-ons available. All models come with shingled roof tops, low-maintenance vinyl siding and windows, and are fully furnished throughout with appliances, window treatments, air-conditioning and choice of tasteful décor.

It only takes three to four weeks on average before a family is ready to enjoy their first day at the resort — and for many, the start of years of building great family memories, with some new friendships along the way.

As for cottage resort living, what does that mean? Let’s start with what most likely springs to mind with respect to a traditional cottage; imagine a cute little cottage nestled away in a forested area with a few neighbours, a dock, maybe a boat and a nice view of the lake.

Now how about a heated saltwater pool, multi-sports court, playground, recreational pavilion, daily Kidz Klub activities, wine-and-cheese nights for the adults, movie nights under the stars and, of course, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating and all the traditional amenities we all love about cottage country?

One more thing: How about a maintenance crew that will cut your grass and maintain the rest of the grounds while you’re busy shopping at the local farmers’ market and exploring all the local wineries across the island along one of the world’s longest bike trails?

Let’s face it – where are your kids going to have more fun? Where are you going to spend less time and money on upkeep and entertainment for the family? Where are you going to meet new friends, feel a little less isolated and safer? At Cherry Beach Resort.

We know what you’re thinking: What about all the running costs and hidden fees? What’s the catch? We get these questions a lot, actually. The reality is virtually all your running costs are included for less than or equal to the cost of a single-family vacation. Water, hydro, grounds-keeping, family entertainment, full use of amenities, security, an on-site management team, unlimited guest passes – it’s all included. Looking to save on half or more on your running costs? Join their rental program and you’re free to keep all your weekends if you want. Want to sell your Park Model Cottage down the road? They have you covered. Cherry Beach Resort makes it easy with their assisted sales program.

Between land taxes, maintenance and upkeep, interest payments on a hefty mortgage loan from the bank – all this excluding amenities, — purchasing a traditional cottage is certainly not for the faint of heart these days. It’s time to look at a much more affordable alternative; an option that will allow you to have your cake… and put more in your RRSPs, RESPs and TFSA account.

For more information on Park Model cottage ownership and resort-style cottage living, visit

* Prices will be increasing as of July 1, 2015

Source: Special to National Post | June 25, 2015 9:11 AM This story was provided by Great Blue Resorts for commercial purposes.  Postmedia had no involvement in the creation of this content.

Will you die with a mortgage? 10 reasons why more people will

Special to The Globe and Mail

Just hearing those words creates a visceral response among some who see it as a sinister product that drains fragile old people of their home equity.

Reverse mortgage let seniors pull cash out of their homes with almost no qualifications – up to 50 per cent of their property value. The downsidesinclude rates that are up to 2.5 percentage points higher than standard mortgages, fees and penalties for early repayment and smaller inheritances for the borrower’s heirs.

Whether reverse mortgages are good or bad depends on whom you ask. But either way, one thing seems clear: reverse mortgages are here to stay, and they’re becoming a go-to solution for a growing number of older Canadians.

In fact, the catalysts for growth are so evident that I’ll go out on a little limb and make a prediction. Within a decade, one in ten senior homeowners will sign up for a reverse mortgage, and yes, many will take them to the grave.

Here are ten reasons why:

1. Falling returns – Actuaries project that stocks, a staple in most retirement portfolios, could return roughly 1.45 per cent less than they have in the past, on an inflation-adjusted annual basis. And long-term bonds won’t return any better, especially if rising rates drag down bond prices and seniors have to liquidate their portfolios to fund retirement. With lower returns come smaller retirement nest eggs.

2. Sporadic saving – Returns aside, people simply aren’t saving consistently. Less than four in ten saved for retirement in 2014. Half of Canadians think they’ll run out of money within ten years of retiring and/oroutlive their savings. A stunning 47 per cent of 55– to 64-year-olds say they don’t have a penny saved for retirement.

3. Rates have fallen – You can now get a reverse mortgage for as low asprime + 1.25 per cent for a variable rate or 4.99 per cent for a five-year fixed. These rates could drop further if funding costs fall and/or HomEquity Bank – the leading provider – ever gets nationwide competition.

4. Industry acceptance – Mortgage brokers and financial advisers will increasingly push reverse mortgages for two reasons. For one, they may be paid more as HomEquity ramps up its adviser compensation program. And two, reverse mortgages are no longer a last-resort solution in some cases. Drawing on home equity instead of liquidating retirement investments can help certain seniors save taxes, preserve old-age benefits, maximize CPP benefits, and diversify and extend the life of their investment portfolio.

5. Under-employmentJob quality is deteriorating which could make retirement savings’ shortfalls more common. It’s no surprise that more people expect to work past retirement age. And it doesn’t help that senior unemployment has almost doubled since the mid-1980s.

6. Lots of equity – More homeowners than ever (24 per cent) are relying on their home(s) as their main source of retirement income. Fortunately for seniors, home values have surged 430 per cent in the last 30 years, knock on wood.

7. More homeowners – Canada’s home-ownership rate has leapt from 61 per cent in 1984 to over 70 per cent today. In turn, more people are qualifying for a reverse mortgage.

8. Longer lifespans – In 15 years, seniors will make up 23 per cent of the population, versus 15.6 per cent today. Not only that, but we’re living longer (to age 81.7 on average, and counting). Unfortunately, costly health problems become more frequent around age 77, on average, a problem since retirement savings aren’t keeping up. Moreover, 91 per cent of Canadian boomers want to stay in their own home as long as possible. But home careisn’t cheap and it’s getting costlier every year.

Total and share of population 65 and over by decade, 1971–2080

Source: Statistics Canada (19712010) and Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (20202080)

9. Bigger mortgages – Mortgage and credit line debt surged 62 per cent and 132 per cent, respectively from 1999 to 2012. If you haven’t experienced it, mortgage payments on a fixed income can be, shall we say, stressful.

10. Financial hot water – More older Canadians are having to bail out theirsinking financial ship. As just one example, 21 per cent of Credit Counselling Society clients are now age 55 or older. That compares to just 5 per cent 19 years ago. As of 2010, seniors were 17 times more prone to insolvency than they were just two decades ago.

Assuming that most of these trends won’t reverse anytime soon, reverse mortgages will become a vital fallback for hundreds of thousands of Canadians in decades to come. And after 29 years in existence, they may even become a mainstream financial-planning tool.

Canada’s only national provider, HomEquity, sold 23 per cent more reverse mortgages in 2014, and that growth is just a hint of what’s around the corner. In the U.S., reverse mortgage sales have been up to 100 times greater than in Canada (mind you, interest deductibility and reverse mortgage insurance play a role down south).

There are usually better alternatives than reverse mortgages, like proper planning, downsizing, landing a renter, getting a home equity line of credit and so on. But needs cannot always be planned. A Monitor Deloitte survey last year found 845,000 – or 17.6 per cent – of Canada’s 4.8 million homeowners age 55 plus had a serious financial need and were looking for options. The above options won’t work for many of those folks.

That’s why one in ten senior homeowners may rely on a reverse mortgage within a decade.


Quick Reverse-Mortgage Facts

  • Who can get one: Almost any homeowner age 55+, with no credit or income check
  • How much can you get: 20 to 50 per cent of your property value, tax-free with no payments required
  • What determines how much you get: Your age, type of home, location and existing secured debt
  • When is it paid back: When both spouses die or sell the home, or sooner if one prefers (a penalty and fees may apply if you pay off a reverse mortgage in the first ten years)

Robert McLister is a mortgage planner at intelliMortgage Inc. and founder You can follow him on Twitter at @RateSpy

THE HOME MORTGAGE ADVANTAGE (…mortgages made simple…)


Home Mortgage Consultants is a mortgage broker agency. We deal with major banks, trust, life insurance, finance companies and private lenders. We are licensed to provide the most competitive mortgage rates and terms available for your real estate financing needs throughout Ontario.



  • First and second mortgages
  • Transfers
  • Condominium/Townhouse purchases
  • Home Improvement Loans
  • Construction Loans
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Commercial and Mixed-Use Properties
  • Refinancing
  • Power of Sale
  • Multi-residential
  • Vacant land
  • Cottages and recreational properties
  • Rural and farm properties


When we arrange a prime residential first mortgage the lender pays us a finder’s fee.This does not affect the rate our terms of the mortgage in any way.

When we arrange any other type of mortgage that does not qualify as a prime residential mortgage then the lender does not pay us. We must then charge a brokerage fee*. The fee is based on the complexity involved to arrange the mortgage.

Need more information or advice on #mortgage_qualification, contact the The Ray McMillan Mortgage Team



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Get the facts on:
– Buying and Financing Real Estate
– Repairing Credit & Mortgage Crisis
– Mortgage & Life Insurance
– Auto purchases, loans ad leasing
– Self Employed Individuals and borrowing
– Government Funded Programs
– Other options you may not know about
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HAPPY NEW YEAR…. And Thanks For Working With Us In 2014


 Welcome to our first blog for 2015. Happy New Year!!! And we wish you all peace, health and prosperity in 2015. Thanks to all those clients who chose to work with us in 2014 to arrange mortgage financing either for their home purchase or for a refinance. We certainly appreciate your business and are looking forward to working  with you again in  the future. Thanks also for all your referrals.

       2014 has been an very interesting year in the mortgage industry. We have seen significant changes in lending guidelines as stipulated by the Federal Minister of Finance to curb what “is a very hot real estate and to bring some stability to rapidly rising home prices” across the country. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) made a few significant changes. These include;

  • An increase in their premiums
  • A significant change to the programs offered to self employed buyers
  • Changes to way lenders’ cash-back programs can be used

“Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.”

All of these changes were done with the intention of slowing down the pace of the real estate market and stabilize prices. Not too sure if it really did much to help. We ended 2014 with the median home price for a detached single family home in Toronto above $890,000.00, a price that pushes most  first time buyers out of the market.

With all this happening we had to make changes to deal the changing mortgage landscape and redevelop or service offering to a quickly evolving client base.  One  of the first changes we made was to completely re-brand our web presence by redesigning and relaunching our web and social media platforms to give clients a clear understanding of what our product offering was. A visit to our website: will allow you to experience more. Next we had to adjust to the needs of our clients who were looking to purchase real estate in the Caribbean, either as vacation homes or  so they can  eventually relocate. In order to facilitate this, we formed strategic partnerships with realtors and lawyers within the Caribbean; namely Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia to facilitate this.


One of our major Caribbean realtor partners is Sydney Davis and Associates located in Kingston, Jamaica.

“A very experienced realtor operating since 1994, Sydney Davis and Associates has sold, rented and provided property management services throughout the  island. Over the years, Jamaicans and visitors from all walks of life have come to depend on the experience and knowledge the company offers to guide them in their real estate investment endeavors.”

A visit to their website will tell you much more about what Mr. Davis and his team has to offer if or when you are thinking of relocating to Jamaica.

To make the process seamless and stress free for clients looking to do real estate business in the Caribbean, we can also recommend the services of a Toronto solicitor, Courtney Kazembe,  who has offices in the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Barbados, along with their Toronto office and one in New York, NY.

” Courtney Kazembe is the managing partner at Kazembe and Associates. He has a diverse litigation, estate and real estate practice that includes complex family law and commercial, civil and criminal litigation cases.

Kazembe has extensive experience appearing before all levels of courts and administrative tribunals, including appellate courts in Canada and Jamaica. He is also an expert in multi-jurisdictional law, human rights law, insurance law and Caribbean law.”

Locally we have partnered with two businesses who bring great value and compliment we do. Barrington Lewis is a realtor with more than a decade of real estate experience. Consummate professional Barrington is always available to answer all your real estate questions. Along with his knowledge of real estate in the Greater Toronto Area, Barrington is also quite knowledgeable of real estate in Jamaica and can certainly assist potential clients in purchasing their dream Caribbean home.

For many suburban home owners, the purchase of a new home usually requires the purchase of a new car or a second vehicle to trek the young ones to their activities; dance; karate, music, football, baseball, etc… Jelani Daniel of Check List Auto has been putting his clients in the perfect auto for more than 10 years. With his slogan “Forward March” Jelani stands out in an industry that sometimes can be quite competitive.

With these strategic partnerships and our stable of institutional and private lenders ready to do even the most difficult mortgage transactions here in Ontario and parts of the Caribbean, the Ray C. McMillan Mortgage Team is ready for 2015 and is here to continue to deliver stellar mortgage advice for even the most desperate of client situations. We will get you approved.

Again thanks for 2014 and we are looking forward to 2015.

Ray C. McMillan has been continuously licensed as a mortgage professional  in the Province of Ontario since 1999.

Home of the Week: Retired exec revives 19th-century farm


Asking price: $2,250,000

Taxes : $7,400 (2014)

Land size: 83 acres

Agent: Peter Bowers (Moffat Dunlap Real Estate Ltd.)

All photos by

The back story

In the late 1800s, an aspiring farmer by the name of Quarrie became the first homesteader on an expanse of land in the rolling hills of Wellington County north of Guelph. Mr. Quarrie and his wife named their domain Maple Ridge Farm and had a house built of local fieldstone in 1889.

The bank barn was built in 1879 or 1876, says the current owner, John Van de Kamer. He explains he’s not sure which as he points to the spot – just under the peaked roof – where someone long ago proudly hand-carved the date of construction on the side of the barn. The last numeral is either a backwards nine or an upside-down six.

Lore passed down through the many years since says that Mrs. Quarrie thought the laneway would benefit from rows of trees on either side, so she set to work herself planting the Norway Spruce that still line the long drive. The columns are 85 or 90 years old, estimates Mr. Van de Kamer, who has counted the rings on the occasional fallen tree.

Mr. Van de Kamer believes the land stayed in the Quarrie family until the mid-1970s, but they deserted the farm some time in the 1950s for reasons that remain unknown. The lengthy drive, enclosed by Mrs. Quarrie’s towering trees, became a lovers’ lane.

In the 1970s, a new owner named Cy Wylie took over the land and brought the abandoned house back to life. In the intervening years, only a single squirrel has managed to make its way in. Mr. Wylie restored the farmhouse and added a coach house, horse barn, riding arena and driving shed.

By the mid-1980s, an elderly Mr. Wylie was finding it difficult to keep up with the farm. Mr. Van de Kamer’s research shows that he sold it to a young couple by the name of Williamson who extensively renovated the house with a new roof, additional rooms, modern bathrooms and a new kitchen.

But tragedy struck and Mr. Williamson died at a young age before the house was finished. Mrs. Williamson could no longer afford to keep the property and, in desperation, she sold the farm to an institution that planned to build two-storey residences around the big pond for use as halfway houses. The old stone house would become the organization’s headquarters.

The surrounding community did not take well to the idea of turning agricultural land into a setting for halfway houses, Mr. Van de Kamer explains. Neighbours launched a court battle and won; the farm was preserved.

The farm today

“I always wanted to be a farmer,” says Mr. Van de Kamer, who – until the 1990s – was a media and publishing executive.

In 1992, he retired as president and chief executive officer of Montreal-based Telemedia Inc. and bought a farmhouse in Acton with his wife, Ann.

In 1992, the couple got lost during a drive around tiny Fergus and ended up at the long driveway leading to Maple Ridge Farm.

“We came up the laneway gingerly to see the stone farmhouse,” he says.

The unfinished farm had lots of potential, he recalls, so the couple purchased it and set out to refurbish it for themselves and their three children.

Today the house has been expanded far beyond the original footprint. There’s a large, open kitchen with a brick fireplace and raised hearth. The family room has French doors leading to the patio overlooking the pond. The dining room has an original exterior stone wall and the living room still has the antique glass in the Victorian-era windows.

The addition includes a large master suite with an ensuite bathroom and a private balcony above the swimming pond. There’s also a sunroom, a large entertainment room and an elevator that glides between floors.

The old bank barn still stands near the rustic wooden chicken coop.

Mr. Van de Kamer raised thoroughbred cattle and the bank barn sheltered many young calves. In another newer barn, he points out the corner where he would sleep during calving season – ready to help the cows in labour.

“We were in the purebred business,” he explained on a recent Friday, as the last cattle drive took place under his watch. The 13 cows and 13 calves were herded into trailers and sent off to be sold by auction to farmers who value their bloodlines.

“You want a cow that’s absolutely purebred,” he says. “ You want those genetics.”

Maple Ridge Farm also has a full horse riding arena. The equestrian barn has stalls for 10 horses.

Beside the main house, a two-bedroom coach house provides living space over a four-bay garage.

The surrounding land has a large pond stocked with trout. A bridge leads to the island in the centre. Mr. Van de Kamer had a smaller pond dug for family swimming. Walking and riding trails wind throughout the property.

Mr. Van de Kamer recalls first wanting to be a farmer when he was a young teenager. While other kids were going to camp, he went to work with a farmer who practised mixed farming. As a young man, he thought that he might pursue a life on the farm but his wife was skeptical so he put the plan on hold.

When he bought Maple Ridge Farm, Mr. Van de Kamer decided he should start with the most gentle breed of cattle. He ended up with a herd of polled Herefords.

“I liked the fact that these were docile creatures.”

He learned by surrounding himself with sage advice.

“When you grow up not at your daddy’s knee, you’d better learn to listen.”

Now that he has spent many years in the business, Mr. Van de Kamer’s cows have won ribbons.

“The nice thing about farming is you can make a mistake and it will turn out alright.”

A tradition has grown up around the annual apple day, when friends and family converge on the farm to help with apple pressing and play in the hay mounds. Mr. Van de Kamer customarily takes up to 30 kids out on tractor rides.

“Everybody goes home with a big bag of apples, cider and a stomach filled with hot dogs,” he says.

Near the house, a dry-stacked fire stack is surrounded by stones.

“Each one represents a member of the family,” Mr. Van de Kamer says.

He’s also had a family-style golf course fashioned out of a long expanse of lawn.

The best feature

The bank barn is a rarity in an area where many have fallen into ruin or been torn down through the years.

“The barn hadn’t been used in 50 years,” says Mr. Van de Kamer, who brought in a team of Mennonite carpenters to restore it. It became a sturdy, comfortable place for sheltering young calves, he says.

Recently, it was nominated for an award recognizing the finest, oldest working barns in the county. It ended up in second place.

“A dairy guy beat me out,” says Mr. Van de Kamer with a smile.