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  • April 24, 2020 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced further details about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.

    The program has been designed to lower the rent of commercial properties by 75 per cent for affected small businesses, and it will be provided in partnership with the provinces and territories.

    The basics of the program are that the rent will be covered by three entities:

    • 50% covered by the government via a forgivable loan to property owners
    • 25% covered by the property owner
    • 25% paid by the tenant

    The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.  In order for the loans to be forgiven, the mortgaged property owner will have to agree to reduce the eligible small business tenants' rent by at at least 75 per cent for three months under a rent forgiveness agreement.  The agreement will also include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place.  

    Businesses that are expected to be eligible for the program include:

    • Those that are paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations; OR
    • Have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues.

    The program is expected to be operational mid-May and will be administered and delivered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

  • April 24, 2020 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The annual Durham Region Home Builders' Association hard copy directory is now available for free for members.

    The handy 2020 DRHBA Membership Directory lists all of DRHBA's members with contact information, as well as information about the Association.

    Copies are available for free to current members.

    For your copy, please email Katelyn at k.widdop@drhba.com with the number of copies you would like and the shipping address.

  • April 24, 2020 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Region of Durham is planning to introduce an amendment to their current development charge by-laws (Region-wide DC by-law #28-2018 and Transit DC by-law #81-2017) to waive the DC indexing for 2020.

    In order to pass the amendment, the Region of Durham needed to complete two background studies, which can be viewed/downloaded here:

    Region-wide DC Background Study

    Regional Transit DC Background Study


    • The purpose of the background studies are to provide for the waiving of the scheduled July 1, 2020 indexing (if there is a positive increase) of the development charges.
    • Given the current economic conditions and future uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anticipated that there will be an impact on demand for new housing and non-residential development which may negatively impact the residential and non-residential construction industry and related employment (skilled tradespersons, local restaurants, material suppliers, etc.)
    • Given the current provisions for indexing of development charges, the cost of residential and non-residential development is anticipated to increase July 1, 2020, potentially reducing the level of development within these sectors.  This is an opportunity for Regional Council to consider waiving development charge indexing, in order to provide some relief for local development and building industry during these uncertain times.
    • Because the indexing rate will not be known until mid-May, the impact on revenue is not known at this time.

    Important Dates

    Public Meeting of Council - May 27, 2020

    Final Date for Public Comment - June 1, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.

    Consideration of Final Amending By-law - June 24, 2020


    Please send any comments to DRHBA by emailing Stacey at s.hawkins@drhba.com.

  • April 23, 2020 2:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On April 15, the government passed O Reg 149/20 made under the Planning Act for the "Special Rules Relating to Declared Emergency."

    Earlier this week a "plain language" explanation of the regulation was published on the ERO by the provincial government.

    Members are encourage to review the Amendments to the Planning Act and O.Reg 149/20 Special Rules Relating to Declared Emergency for clarity.

    In the posting, MMAH explains that O.Reg 149/20 clarifies that O.Reg 73/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act  does not apply to land use planning timelines.  The posting also makes it clear that municipalities may hold virtual public meetings and should they wish to make decisions on applications during this time, they are free to do so.

    Members are also encouraged to consult with legal counsel as well as their respective municipality to determine how the new planning regulation may or may not affect their specific applications or appeals.

  • April 23, 2020 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, the Town of Whitby released the most updated version of the Whitby Green Standard, the planning tool the Town is developing to help advance sustainable new development across the Town.

    You can view the documents here 

    DRHBA's government relations (GR) committee has reviewed the documents and have found some items that members should be aware of.  The Whitby Green Standard includes multiple tiers, and Tier 1 is mandatory.

    The first, and most important, item that needs your attention is under the Performance Measures section, item ECC 1.7 - Building Energy Performance, which reads that for low-rise residential development, the criteria would be: "Design the building(s) to achieve at least ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, version 17 or R-2000 requirements."  This criteria would require builders to build to better than code, and require more than what is mandated in the Ontario Building Code.  Item ECC 1.6 - Building Energy Performance - for residential buildings four storeys or more and non-residential buildings, the criteria is "Design the building to achieve 15% improvement over OBC, SB-10, Division 3 (2017); OR TEUI, TEDI and GHGI targets by building type (required for Tier 2)."

    DRHBA's team evaluated the entire Tier 1 Site Plan Application Checklist included in the documents, and feel that members should take note of the following items:

    Equity and Local Economy: Creating safe, equitable places to live and work which support local prosperity and international fair trade.

    ELE 1.1 - Affordable Housing

    • "Affordable Housing means: a) in the case of ownership housing, the least expensive of: i) housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30% of gross annual income for low and moderate income households or ii) housing for which the purchase price is at least 10% below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the Region; and b) in the case of rental housing, the least expensive of i) a unit for which the rent does not exceed 30% of gross annual household income for low and moderate income households; or ii) a unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the Region."
    •  DRHBA comments: Both "accommodation costs" and "low and moderate income" should be fully defined.  Why would a new build cost less than resale?  The real estate market is always changing - what time in the market is used to calculate values - last month?  Five years ago?

    Culture and Community: Nurturing local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living.

    CC1.2 - Outdoor Amenity Space

    • Provide public and/or private outdoor amenity spaces, where appropriate, for multi-residential development and non-residential development, particularly for development within Intensification Areas.
    • DRHBA comments: If no parkettes on condo sites, are balconies needed on stacks?

    CC1.3 - Cultural Heritage Resources

    • Complete a cultural heritage impact assessment that describes the cultural heritage resource and potential impacts of development and recommends strategies to mitigate negative impacts, where the alteration, development, or redevelopment of property is proposed on, or adjacent to cultural heritage resources that are designated under Part IV or Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act, per Whitby's Official Plan.
    • DRHBA comments: this will require more reports to be produced by builders/developers and potentially additional costs.

    Land Use and Nature: Protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife.

    LUN1.4 - Tree Canopy

    • If applicable, submit a Tree Preservation Plan in accordance with Whitby's Tree Preservation Cleaning Guidelines for New Developments.  Any trees removed are replaced to maintain the existing tree canopy, per Whitby Tree Preservation and Clearing Guidelines for New Developments.
    • DRHBA comments: Replacing the tree canopy could prove to be difficult - can a mature tree be replaced with a sapling?

    Sustainable Water: Using water efficiently, protecting local water resources and reducing flooding and drought.

    SW1.2 - Residential Driveways and/or Parking Lots

    • Proposed landscaping within parking areas is required to: 1. Enhance growing conditions for trees, per the Landscape Plan Guidelines for Site Plan and Subdivision Developments Planning and Development Department and 2. Use paving materials that provide for the infiltration of water into the ground and conform to the surface treatment requirements of Zoning By-Law 1784 and 2585.
    • DRHBA comments: We need the Town to be more specific.  Builders typically use concrete slab pavers from porches to driveways - does these mean switching to permeable pavers?

    Travel and Transport: Reducing the need to travel, and encouraging walking, cycling and low carbon transport.

    TT1.12 - Bike Storage - Short Term

    • 90% of all new buildings provide the following short-term bike storage rates:

    o   Non-residential: 2.5% of peak visitors

    o   Multi-unit residential: 2.5% of peak visitors

    o   Retail: 2 spaces for every 465 sqm

    o   Mixed-use: See above requirements

    • Storage should be covered and secure, within line of sight of main entrance.
    • DRHBA comments: the Town needs to provide more specifics - does the multi-unit residential include townhouses?  The formula should also be clarified - 2.5% of visitor parking spaces is the number of bike spots? Providing "covered and secure" will cost more to provide.

    Energy & Climate Change: Making buildings and manufacturing energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables.

    ECC1.3 - Passive Solar Orientation

    • Where feasible, 50% (or more) of the development blocks have one axis within 15 degrees of the East-West plane.  East-West lengths of those blocks are at least as long as the North-South lengths of blocks.
    • DRHBA comments: this will be a challenge for planners and their clients (to maximize the use of the property) - the key words are "where feasible." Will an applicant have to demonstrate, with a site plan, that they have attempted to orientate the buildings as suggested? The best land use may or may not comply with this requirement. Grading, servicing, site access, to name a few, are key items in site plan development and building orientation.

    ECC1.8 - Building Resilience - For residential buildings four storey or more and non-residential buildings

    • Provide a refuge area with heating, cooling, lighting, potable and power available and 72 hours of back-up power to the refuge area and essential building systems.
    • DRHBA comments: Is this for disaster safety?  For how many people?  A four-story building could include stacked townhouses - how would a refuge area fit in here?  This would have to be a separate building or a space attached to the buildings - how many people?  What formula is used to calculate the space needed - how many square feet per person?  In a condo development, this would be a common element - which could increase maintenance fees.  The Town also needs to define "essential building systems."

    These mandatory criteria will apply to new applications submitted after June 2020 for draft plans of subdivision and Site Plans.

    You can send your comments to the Town via an online survey  no later than Friday, April 24.

    The Town is also hosting a stakeholder consultation session on Wednesday, April 29 from 10 a.m. - noon.  Please register here.

    The Durham Region Home Builders' Association will also be submitting their comments to the Town.

  • April 23, 2020 12:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New order issued to support people with mental health and addictions issues

    TORONTO — On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is extending all emergency orders that have been put in place to-date under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until May 6, 2020. This extension will help protect the health and well-being of people across the province and stop the spread of COVID-19.

    This Emergency Order extension includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas, non-essential workplaces, public places and bars and restaurants, along with restrictions on social gatherings and limiting staff from working in more than one retirement home or long-term care home.

    "We are making steady progress in our battle against this deadly virus, but we are not out of the woods by a long shot. It is absolutely necessary to extend these emergency orders to continue keeping all Ontarians safe and healthy," said Premier Doug Ford. "Every effort made by each of us to stay home, practise physical distancing and wash your hands has been, and will continue to be, the key to stopping the spread of this virus."

    In addition, the government has introduced a new measure to allow mental health and addictions agencies to redeploy staff within different locations or between programs, and employ extra part-time staff, temporary staff or contractors in order to ensure people continue receiving the high quality care they expect and deserve during the COVID-19 outbreak. Agencies would be required to provide appropriate training and education to achieve the purposes of a redeployment plan.

    The following emergency orders have been extended until May 6, 2020:

  • April 22, 2020 3:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    MNP LLP has prepared a document to help employers and employees sort through the different benefit programs available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This document includes information about the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS), Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and the Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRAP).  The document also offers information on new income tax deadlines, the CRA My Business Account, and more.

    View/download the document

  • April 22, 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    EnerQuality's 2020 training will help you build better, tighter, healthier and more comfortable homes, and now you can receiving this training online and at an excellent price.

    Enbridge Gas has made it possible for Ontario homebuilding professionals to register for these high performance new construction workshops at no cost.  Eligible participants will receive up to three complimentary registrations.

    All other participants will receive up to 95% off the original price.

    Thanks to our forward-thinking partners and sponsors for making these workshop series possible.

    Register today for one or more of these acclaimed workshops.  But don't forget your team!  We've created the Team Builder promotion just for you.  For every three paid registrants from your organization, you'll receive one registration at no charge.

    Advanced Building Science

    May 7 & 8, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. EST

    $0/$19.95 (regular price $309)

    Energy Star® for New Home V17 Builder Training

    21 & 22, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. EST

    $0/$149 (regular price $309)

    CHBA Net Zero/Net Zero Ready Builder Training (New)

    June 1 & 2, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. EST

    $0/$249 (regular price $899)

  • April 22, 2020 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    While many workplaces remain closed to due Ontario's mandatory shutdowns, some essential workplaces are grappling with ensuring sufficient employee attendance to meet their businesses' operational needs.

    Generally, while an employer cannot seek a medical certificate to confirm that an employee is ill or exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms, an employer may require an employee who takes declared emergency leave or infectious disease emergency leave  to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances to substantiate the leave.  Further, a preference to be placed on lay-off to enable access to the CERB or other benefits is not a valid reason to refuse work, absent special circumstances that engage human rights considerations.  In many cases, employees without special needs may be expected to abide by the employer's regular attendance policies and will not be entitled to refuse work unless they have engaged in a valid work refusal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    In view of the multiple competing considerations arising in the circumstances, attendance issues must be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  If your essential workplace is facing attendance management issues, you are encourage to contact Templeman LLP for advice specific to your workforce.

    -Templeman LLP

    Follow @LlpTempleman for daily updates and information.

  • April 21, 2020 5:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    To OHBA Renovator Members,

    It has been said many times already, but to say it again, we are facing unprecedented times.  I know personally how hard the renovation sector has been hit by the COVID-19 State of Emergency as many of our existing projects have been postponed by homeowners.

    Pioneer Craftsman has been in business for over 65 years.  We have survived the 1990 recession, survived the 2008-2009 financial crisis, and we are preparing to survive this current COVID-19 State of Emergency.

    Through OHBA, we are reaching our to the renovator membership to focus in on renovator and trade contractor specific issues and potential initiatives that can be presented to the provincial government.

    Through the OHBA Renovators' Council, we will be hosting a Zoom Renovator Roundtable on Thursday, April 23, at 2 p.m. to discuss the current challenges and initiatives we will need from the government to help support us during this time and into the recovery phase.

    As always, be safe, practice social distancing, and we are all in this together.

    Thank you,

    Jamie Adam

    Chair of the OHBA Renovators' Council

    President of Pioneer Craftsman

    Past-President of WRHBA 

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Oshawa, Ontario

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Durham Region Home Builders' Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 1-1255 Terwillegar Avenue Oshawa, Ontario L1J 7A4

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