Public interest should be central to regulation of charities’ political activities

January 6th, 2017 by Brian Iler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been notorious in recent years for its attacks on charities for their alleged political activities. Charities concerned about climate change and Aboriginal rights bore the brunt, with some still awaiting the attitude change promised by Justin Trudeau when he took power.

Taking Trudeau at his word, our law firm provided our thoughts to the Liberals’ inquiry on the issue of how charities’ political activities should be regulated.

Below is a précis. Our full submission is here.

Read the rest of this post

How-To’s of Co-Buying – free workshop Jan 26

December 21st, 2016 by Iler Campbell

As promised, and further to Lauren’s November blog post on the challenges of entering the real estate market, we are pleased to announce that Iler Campbell’s session on the “How-To’s of Co-Buying” will take place on Thursday, January 26th at the Centre for Social Innovation at 720 Bathurst from 5.30-8.00pm.

In addition to hearing about legal aspects of co-ownership, you’ll be able to hear from a real estate agent, a mortgage broker, and folks who have taken the plunge and can speak to some of the ins and outs of co-buying.

The full speaker list will be published in early January, but for now please save the date. We look forward to seeing many of you there!

Travel back in time with us!

December 21st, 2016 by Iler Campbell

To celebrate the end of the year and the beginning of a new one we’re taking you back in time. Click here to check out some notable moments from 2016.

Landlord and Tenant Board ups its rates effective Jan 16, 2017

December 19th, 2016 by Celia Chandler

Housing providers take note – whether you’re a co‑op or a landlord, the province has decided you will pay more to assert your rights at the LTB starting January 6, 2017.   The co‑op application filing fee will increase $20 to $190.   Landlords have a similar rate increase, but if they file their application electronically they can realize a savings of $15 – making the application fee only $175.

The list of fees is found here.

The province makes a move towards affordable housing

December 12th, 2016 by Celia Chandler

Last week Bill 7, Promoting Affordable  Housing Act, 2016, passed third reading and received Royal Assent.  Bill 7 is part of the government’s Long‑Term Affordable Housing Strategy.

The province’s news release describes Bill 7 as a way to increase the supply of affordable housing and modernize social housing in the following four ways:

  • By giving municipalities the option to implement inclusionary zoning, which requires affordable housing units to be included in residential developments;
  • By making secondary suites such as above-garage apartments or basement units in new homes less costly to build, by exempting them from development charges. Secondary suites are a potential source of affordable rental housing and allow homeowners to earn additional income;
  • By giving local service managers more choice in how they deliver and administer social housing programs and services to reduce wait lists and make it easier for people in Ontario to access a range of housing options;
  • By encouraging more inclusive communities and strengthening tenant rights by preventing unnecessary evictions from social housing and creating more mixed-income housing; and
  • By gathering data about homelessness in Ontario by requiring service managers to conduct local enumeration of those who are homeless in their communities, so that Ontario can continue to work towards its goal of ending chronic homelessness by 2025.

The bill was passed, but not everyone is thrilled with it and the sticking point seems to be the inclusionary zoning option.  (Regular readers of our blog will know that inclusionary zoning is an approach that we’re interested in and something we’ve blogged about before.)   At Tuesday’s debate, the NDP’s Percy Hatfield expressed the concerns of Toronto Councillor and strong housing advocate, Ana Bailao, and of the co‑op sector’s Harvey Cooper.  Both are worried that as it’s presented, inclusionary zoning will force municipalities to make hard choices between housing and other community improvements like daycare and parks, so called “section 37 benefits” .    As inclusionary zoning will be optional for municipalities, time will tell what the uptake is and where it is adopted, how effective it is as a tool to expand the affordable housing stock.

More immediately though for our clients, Bill 7 amends the Residential Tenancies Act to clarify that neither a landlord nor a non‑profit housing co‑op can give an eviction notice “on the ground that the member has ceased to be eligible for, or has failed to take any step necessary to maintain eligibility for, rent-geared-to-income assistance as defined in section 38 of the Housing Services Act, 2011.”  These amendments, in force immediately, are found in the RTA at section 58(3) (for landlords) and section 94.2(3) (for housing co‑ops).

Minimizing risk in your construction projects

November 29th, 2016 by Safia Lakhani

On November 2nd, 2016, Iler Campbell hosted a breakfast session on how to minimize risks in construction projects. The session was attended by members of the co-op and non-profit sectors in Toronto. Over coffee and muffins, I spoke about the different types of risks that emerge on large and small-scale construction projects, and some of the precautions that owners can take in order to minimize those risks. We discussed the importance of having a solid construction contract and detailed records of incidents on-site. We also had a productive discussion on how property managers can play a key role in monitoring on-site progress, keeping records, and delivering notices to contractors and trades regarding deficient work and delays. Of course, we also discussed when to consult a lawyer!

This was the second workshop in our new IC Education series of free legal education seminars. Our next session will be on housing co-ownership. Make sure you’re signed up for our email list to receive notice of this and future events.