Monday, April 20th11°C

House explosion kills 1

An explosion has killed one person, injured another and levelled a house in northeastern Toronto.

Paramedics say a man was pulled from the rubble of the house following the Monday afternoon blast and pronounced dead on the scene.

Toronto EMS duty officer Danny Antonopoulos says another person from an adjacent house has been treated for minor hand injuries.

Toronto fire Capt. Adrian Ratushniak says there is a natural gas leak in the area and the street has been closed to traffic.

Firefighters are combing through the debris as they search for people who may have been hurt in the explosion.

Ratushniak says at least four houses have been damaged and the Ontario Fire Marshal is en route to begin investigating.

The Canadian Press


Expense account faceoff

Senators will have to account more openly for how they spend taxpayers' dollars under soon-to-be updated rules, the Speaker of the Senate says.

Pierre Claude Nolin made the promise Monday as Mike Duffy's fraud, breach of trust and bribery trial entered its third week.

The court has been regaled with examples of how the suspended senator allegedly used vague rules and little oversight to maximize his entitlement to various expense allowances and to contract work to friends, a cousin and even his personal fitness trainer.

Duffy's lawyer maintains the senator did not break any rules or engage in any criminal activity.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, Nolin said the Senate, under his leadership, "is committed to modernizing its rules and processes in keeping with best practice standards."

"We are moving towards greater transparency and accountability, principles upon which I strongly believe. To this end, we will be updating our requirements around senator office budget reporting to include publishing a more detailed breakdown of expenses."

Nolin said the rules will be further updated to take into account the findings of the auditor general, who is expected to report in June on a comprehensive audit of all senators' expenses.

In an apparent bid to lead by example, Nolin revealed that his entire Speaker's office budget was devoted to staff salaries in 2014-15 and that none of his staff is a member of his or any other senator's family.

At the moment, senators must publicly report how much they spend each quarter for staff, hospitality, living expenses in the capital region and Senate travel. There is no itemized list of expenses under each of those broad categories, although some senators voluntarily provide more details.

By contrast, MPs' expenditure reports disclose spending on employees, service contracts, travel (including a breakdown of travel by the member, designated traveller, dependents and employees), accommodation, per diems, secondary residences, hospitality, gifts, advertising, printing, constituency office leases, furnishings, equipment, computers, phones, postage and courier services, supplies and training.

Herewith, a primer on some of the allowances parliamentarians are eligible to claim, in addition to their basic annual salaries of $167,400 for an MP and $142,400 for a senator.

Living Allowances:

A senator whose primary residence is more than 100 kilometres outside the national capital region is entitled to claim accommodation expenses while in the capital on Senate business, to a maximum of $22,000 per year. The senator may choose to claim one of the following:

— Up to $200 per night for a hotel room.

— Monthly cost to rent or lease an apartment, condo or house. The rent is claimable even for months in which the Senate is not sitting.

— Daily allowance of $29.28 for a secondary home which is owned by the senator, payable every day of the year regardless of Senate sittings. That amounts to $10,687 annually.

On top of the accommodation allowance, senators are entitled to claim per diems of up to $92.70 for meals every day they are in the capital on Senate business. The Senate sat for 83 days in 2014, putting the total for the maximum meal per diems at $7,694 for the year.

Accommodation allowances for MPs whose primary residences are more than 100 km. from the capital region are almost identical to those given senators. However, the overall cap is slightly higher ($28,600 per year), as is the daily rate for those who own a secondary home ($30.28). The per diem for meals is the same ($92.70).

An MP may also seek reimbursement for one hotel room when his or her spouse and/or dependents visit the capital region, provided that the MP stays with them and attests that his or her usual secondary residence is "unsuitable for use" for the occasion.

MPs whose primary residences are 50 to 100 km. from the parliamentary precinct may claim transportation expenses at a rate of 49.3 cents per kilometre.

Travel outside the capital region:

All parliamentarians travel free on Via Rail. For other modes of transportation, senators and MPs each get 64 travel points every fiscal year to cover travel expenses for themselves, one designated travel companion each, dependents and eligible employees. The points may be used for "regular travel" to and from the parliamentarian's home province or riding or for "special trips" elsewhere in Canada and, on limited occasions, to Washington, D.C., and New York City for parliamentary business.

Generally, one return flight from Ottawa to the parliamentarian's home region is worth one point.

Senators, their designated travellers and dependents are allowed to fly business class. MPs, their designated travellers and dependents are allowed to fly business class on flights of more than 2 hours but are expected to fly full-fare economy on short flights.

While travelling on parliamentary business, senators and MPs may claim the $92.70 per diem for meals and incidentals. A senator's designated traveller is also entitled to the per diem but an MP's designated traveller is not.

Senators and MPs may also claim up to $200 per night for hotels.

If an MP or senator chooses to stay with friends or family while travelling on parliamentary business they may claim a $50 per night "private, non-commercial accommodation" allowance.

The Canadian Press

And they're off and running

The symbolism of Finance Minister Joe Oliver donning a pair of Tory blue sneakers Monday for the traditional new-budget-shoes photo opportunity shouldn't be lost on anyone.

A federal election date may yet be six months away, but Tuesday's promised delivery of the Harper government's first balanced spending blueprint in eight years means the Conservatives are already off and running.

In fact, the well-orchestrated march to the 2015 general election began more than a year ago, when the government presented a 2014 budget that, it turns out, could have reasonably showed a surplus — but held off the big reveal until Canadians were closer to the ballot box.

The parliamentary budget office last week predicted 2014-15 will come in $3.4 billion in the black — a possible jump start on those "New Balance" runners Oliver slipped on at a Toronto shoe store.

The long march continued last Halloween at a campaign-style event in Vaughan, Ont., where Prime Minister Stephen Harper rolled out a five-year, $27-billion package of improvements to family benefits and targeted tax cuts — a sort of rolling campaign barrage timed to light up the fireworks in July when families receive their first retroactive benefit cheques.

The simple electoral arithmetic of tax breaks and benefit boosts was on display Monday in the House of Commons.

"In my riding of Oak Ridges-Markham, (constituents) get up every morning, they get to work and what they want their government to do is put more money back in their pockets to invest in their priorities," said Paul Calandra, Harper's parliamentary secretary, who holds one of the coveted 905 area code ridings around Toronto.

Between Tuesday's budget launch and those well-timed, mid-summer family cheques there will be an orgy of government self-promotion, with $7.5 million already earmarked for "economic action plan" advertising.

These large set pieces of the Conservative re-election campaign will be augmented Tuesday with a host of smaller measures aimed up shoring up perceived weaknesses and bolstering perceived strengths.

Help for seniors — a key Conservative voting demographic that's growing as the baby boomers pass 65 — is also expected through changes to registered retirement income fund rules and a long-promised doubling of the $5,500 annual limit on tax-free savings accounts.

There will be cash for the national security apparatus, a big government selling point in this season of domestic terror attacks and overseas military missions.

Announcements linked to the upcoming country-wide celebrations for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017 are also expected as the Conservatives pound home the "Strong Proud Free" marketing tagline they've introduced to government ads.

There will likely be targeted infrastructure funding for major public transit projects, spending the government will promote as "green" to help cover a weak environmental policy flank while wooing those suburban commuters Calandra referenced.

And there may be measures to bolster manufacturing, small businesses and skills training as the Conservatives attempt to buff their job creation credentials.

Headlining it all will be the return to surplus, backstopped by proposed balanced budget legislation.

And while the dramatic plunge in global oil prices — which spurred Oliver to delay his budget release by a month or two this spring — is viewed by some to have tripped up Conservative budget plans, it had one welcome side effect for a government heading to the electorate.

Elly Alboim, a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group and former adviser to former Liberal finance minister Paul Martin, said the Conservative fiscal framework laid out in the budget will fetter the opposition parties.

"By eliminating two (percentage) points off the GST and then giving away other tax room, they have made the framework impervious to policy," said Alboim.

The Canadian Press


3 ways budget not like yours

When the Conservative government talks about how it builds — and intends to balance — its budget, it often relates it to the way Canadian families sit around their dinner tables figuring out their personal finances.

"Canadians understand the importance of living within their means and they expect that governments will do the same," Kevin Sorenson, minister of state for finance, said Monday.

But in reality, the federal spending document bears little more than a passing resemblance to the budgets Canadians draw up. Herewith, three ways Tuesday's federal budget will look nothing like a personal one:

1) It's not going to tell you how much is spent on groceries.

When Canadians draw up their spending plans, it's a pretty straightforward document — income versus expenses. But the government document doesn't put everything forward with the same black-and-white clarity.

When it comes to income, there will be a section that lays out how much the government thinks it will make off the various taxes and duties it collects.

On expenses, it is less forthcoming.

The budget will announce spending in certain areas, like money being allocated for Canada 150 celebrations or security measures. But it generally doesn't provide a breakdown of how much money each department will be allocated nor what they're going to spend it on.

2) If a government department needs more money, it doesn't have to dig under the couch cushions or buy a lottery ticket.

Each department has two kinds of budgets — one for operations and one for programming.

What they'll spend on each is outlined via the main estimates, a document that must be tabled in Parliament by March 1. The federal budget usually follows, giving a few more details on new programs or the renewal of old ones.

But a department can get its budget increased without it appearing in either of those documents, via a process known as the supplementary estimates.

Three times a year, the estimates are published to detail additional spending, be it increases in price tags for already-announced programs or altogether new ones. The supplementary estimates also allow the government to account for emergency spending, such as in the event of natural disasters.

But again, those are just estimates. For precise numbers, one needs the public accounts, released each fall, which include departmental spending but also details that aren't available anywhere else, like how much property the government lost in a given year or lawsuits it was forced to pay out.

3) Budgets aren't just about the bucks.

A family deciding whether an extra stash of cash ought to be spent on a trip to Cuba or socked away for a rainy day is akin to the government choosing whether to allocate additional funds to snowmobile clubs or pay down the debt.

But a major difference between a personal plan and a government spending plan is that in their budgets, the government also makes policy announcements with no money attached.

For example, in the 2013 federal budget, the government announced the decision to roll the Canadian International Development Agency into Foreign Affairs. Whether the move cost or saved any money — or how much — wasn't included.

The following year, there were promises for copyright reform, new rules for craft beer makers and a promise to make it cheaper to travel abroad and use your cellphone — no dollar figures required.

The Canadian Press

New Q... Gian who?

So is it "q" or "Q"?

Last week, CBC announced the new Shad-hosted version of its arts and culture radio program "Q" was getting a little makeover.

The show would keep its name but would be branded with a lower-case "q."

But the public broadcaster clarified its position Monday as the new show launched.

The CBC now says the show's logo will use a small "q", but for "clarity and readability," the program will otherwise be referred to with an upper-case "Q" in written communication.

The rebrand was viewed as another step by the CBC to distance itself from disgraced former "Q" host Jian Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi was fired in October amid sexual assault charges. He faces seven counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking, but his lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to all charges.

Shad made no mention of Ghomeshi as he steered his inaugural "q" broadcast in front of a live audience at CBC's Glenn Gould Studio. The Vancouver rapper, otherwise known as Shadrach Kabango, presided over a two-hour program long on performances and relatively short on talk.

Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Toronto songwriter Bahamas and Grammy-winning Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales all contributed performances, while further support was offered in cameo form from the likes of Elvira Kurt, Damian Abraham and Peter Mansbridge.

Shad, clad in a beanie and hoodie with a golden key dangling from a chain around his neck, seemed comfortable in the host's chair — if exceedingly willing to share the spotlight.

He welcomed guest Marc Maron, known for drawing celebrities into deeply personal conversations on his popular "WTF" podcast, by telling the 51-year-old he "hoped to learn something" from him.

"It's smart to lay back," Maron said, observing Shad's casual style, "but you're going to have to get in there sometimes."

Once the show went off the air, Shad told the audience that their enthusiasm "almost brought (him) to tears."

One fan then vocally requested an impromptu song from Shad (with Gonzales manning the keys), and the 32-year-old gingerly obliged.

"Just so you know, this won't be a regular thing," he said with a smile after freestyling a light-hearted verse. "Don't expect rapping every episode."

The Canadian Press

Bail in navy sex case

Four members of the British navy charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm have been granted bail following an alleged incident at a Canadian Forces base in Halifax.

A provincial court judge ordered Simon Radford, Joshua Finbow, Craig Stoner and Darren Smalley to be released from custody on conditions.

Those conditions require them to stay at CFB Stadacona in Halifax and return to court on May 27.

The Crown said outside court last week that the men are alleged to have participated in a "group sexual assault'' in a barracks at CFB Shearwater on April 10.

Crown attorney Scott Morrison said the men were in Nova Scotia participating in a hockey tournament with local Armed Forces personnel when they were arrested Thursday morning.

The commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which investigates serious matters relating to the Defence Department, said the allegations of sexual assault against the sailors is disturbing.

In a statement, Lt.-Col. Francis Bolduc said British authorities have co-operated with the investigation.

The Canadian Press

Second twin gets transplant

A three-year-old girl from Kingston, Ont., has undergone a liver transplant two months after her twin sister had the same surgery to combat a potentially fatal genetic disorder.

A post on the family's Facebook page says Binh Wagner received her "gift" from an anonymous donor, though the timing of the surgery is being kept secret to protect the donor's privacy.

The girls suffer from Alagille syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects vital organs. Without a liver transplant, the girls would die.

Binh's twin sister Phuoc returned home from hospital last month after receiving part of her father Michael Wagner's liver.

Their story made headlines around the world when the family said it couldn't possibly decide which daughter would get the transplant, so they left it to doctors to pick the best candidate based on medical reasons.

The family went public with a plea to find a second donor for Binh. The response was overwhelming, with nearly 500 people contacting Toronto General Hospital to offer parts of their liver to the little girl.

Dr. Gary Levy, who runs the liver-donor program at the hospital, said shortly after the appeal that they had identified a handful of candidates for Binh.

Phuoc, who received the new liver in mid-February, remained in hospital for about a month as she recovered and fought off a few illnesses.

The changes in Phuoc were startling, Wagner told The Canadian Press last month. Her complexion was no longer a yellow hue.

"You can see the white of her eyes — we've never seen them,'' Wagner said. The constant scratching has stopped and she was finally sleeping through the night.

The family wrote on Facebook Monday that Phuoc has recently managed to sleep without her feeding pump.

The family also said on Facebook that Binh is "recovering well, at her own pace," despite experiencing "very different medical issues" from her sister.

"We are looking forward to all being reunited and leading a healthier life now, with both transplants finally behind us," the post reads.

The family could not immediately be reached for comment, but is planning a news conference Tuesday morning with doctors from Sick Kids and Toronto General hospitals.

The Canadian Press

Can your pet make you sick?

Pets are a wellspring of love and joy for their owners. But they can also be a source of disease and should be chosen with care if someone in a household has health problems, some experts suggest.

In a review article published in this week's Canadian Medical Association Journal, two veterinarians and a physician from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario discuss a variety of diseases people can get from pets.

They make clear that in most cases the risks to pet owners are low and the benefits of pet ownership are high. But there are some combinations of people and pets that don't make good sense, they contend.

In particular, they recommend families forgo the adorable allure of puppies and kittens if someone in the household has a badly compromised immune system. Young animals, like young children, are more likely to catch and spread germs.

"It's like having that young child in the household," lead author Dr. Jason Stull, a veterinarian at Ohio State University, said in an interview.

"Young dogs and cats can be fantastic pets for the average person. But if there is an individual who is severely immunocompromised, that may not be the best choice. It may make more sense to get an adult or mature animal that's going to be less likely to carry some of these zoonotic organisms."

Zoonoses are diseases that spread to people from animals. Some, like SARS or bird flu viruses, infect people who have had contact with wild animals or commercial livestock, such as poultry.

But there are more than 70 known diseases that pets can pass to people and additional examples are being discovered regularly, Stull said.

For instance, a number of small animals often kept as pets can transmit salmonella, a diarrheal disease that can be severe enough to require hospitalization.

Turtles, hedgehogs, baby chicks and frogs are known to have been the source of salmonella infections, as have animal foods and treats — raw meat, raw eggs and pigs ears which are sometimes used as chew toys.

Another diarrheal disease, Campylobacter jejuni, can be spread from dogs and cats, as can a variety of parasitic worms and fungal diseases.

Most people are unaware of the link between pets and human illness, Stull said. And that can be a problem when parents decide to get a pet for a child who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

A survey he and several colleagues conducted found that 77 per cent of households that got a new pet after a cancer diagnosis actually chose what would be termed a high-risk pet.

Part of the problem is that human care and animal care operate in silos, Stull suggested. It seems that doctors rarely ask about pets in a household and veterinarians may not know about the health of the people who interact with the animals they treat.

Stull says he and his colleagues are putting together an animal contact questionnaire that doctors can use to explore these risks with patients who need to think about pet contact because their health status has changed.

"Clearly these animals are not a frequent cause for disease, but there are some specific situations where we really need to be paying closer attention," he said.

The Canadian Press

Sailors face sex charges

Four members of the British navy are set to appear in a Nova Scotia court today on charges of sexual assault following an alleged incident at a Canadian Forces base in Halifax.

The Crown says the men are alleged to have participated in a "group sexual assault'' in a barracks at CFB Shearwater on April 10.

The men are British citizens and were in Nova Scotia for a hockey tournament with local military personnel when they were arrested last Thursday.

Prosecutor Scott Morrison said last week that the Crown was trying to determine if the men can be released from custody and whether that would include allowing them to return to the U.K. during the legal process.

The commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, which investigates serious matters relating to the Defence Department, said the allegations of sexual assault against the sailors is disturbing.

In a statement, Lt.-Col. Francis Bolduc said British authorities have co-operated with the investigation.

The Canadian Press

First black top cop for T.O.

Toronto has its first black chief of police.

Mark Saunders is a 32-year veteran of the force.

He takes over from Bill Blair, whose contract was not renewed after a decade on the job.

Saunders takes over at a time of tension over the police practice of "carding" — stopping people on the street for questioning.

Visible minorities — specifically black youth — have complained they are targeted for the stops.

Saunders will also feel pressure to rein in a budget of more than $1 billion.

Saunders, who is the current deputy chief, is currently in charge of Specialized Operations Command where he oversees 1,200 police officers and 154 civilian members.

He is the co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Organized Crime Committee and, according to the TPS website, participates as a mentor for the Black Community Consultative Committee.

He is also the TPS’s executive sponsor of the Toronto Pan Am/Parapan American Games, responsible for safety and security, and he's credited with establishing the Toronto police department's cybercrime unit.

Saunders had been considered one of two frontrunners for the job of Toronto's top cop.

The Canadian Press

Ottawa has its hands full

It will be a busy week ahead for politicians and journalists alike in the nation's capital as this Parliament sprints toward the finish line.

Members of Parliament return to Ottawa as the House of Commons resumes sitting following a two-week break.

While they were away, the trial of suspended senator Mike Duffy rolled on.

The court heard how Duffy's former intern, a makeup artist and a personal trainer all received cheques from one of two companies owned by a friend and former colleague of Duffy's for services they provided to the senator.

But another big political event this week may bump Duffy from the headlines for a day or two.

Finance Minister Joe Oliver releases his long-awaited federal budget on Tuesday.

The Conservatives have promised a balanced budget, even though falling oil prices have put a big dent in the government's bottom line.

Some expect the Tories to commit to lower the small business corporate tax rate to nine per cent from its current level of 11 per cent.

Others anticipate yet another extension to the government's accelerated write-off for manufacturing equipment and machinery will appear in the budget.

Opposition MPs will no doubt also be raring to grill the Conservatives over Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement that Canada is joining a U.S.-led military training mission Ukraine.

The Commons is scheduled to sit until late June — and MPs probably won't sit again until after the federal election scheduled for October.

The Canadian Press

Do Canadians shop Green?

A new global poll of consumers in 23 countries suggests Canadians are middle of the pack when it comes to concern over the environment and how their shopping choices affect it.

But the poll of 28,000 people by the international survey firm GfK still found that most Canadians believe companies need to be environmentally responsible and try to reflect those values when they spend their money.

"We have a sizable number of Canadians that really put issues around environmentalism and corporate responsibility around environmental responsibility front and centre," said Angelo Pierro of GfK Canada.

The poll, conducted online and face-to-face last summer, asked respondents a series of questions about how they reconcile their environmental beliefs and their consumer habits.

Around the world, 76 per cent of respondents agreed that companies and brands should be environmentally responsible.

But the poll suggests a wide divergence between different countries, ranging from 93 per cent agreement in India and only 58 per cent in Japan.

Canada came in just below average at 73 per cent — higher than the United States at 66 per cent, but well behind countries such as France, Brazil, Russia and China.

The story was similar when respondents were asked if they feel guilty when they do something that harms the environment. The global average was 63 per cent, 10 points higher than the Canadian average.

Asking respondents if they only bought products and services that corresponded to their beliefs repeated the pattern. A 63 per cent global average fell to 55 per cent in Canada.

Pierro said a distinct pattern began to emerge. Rapidly developing countries with large, urbanizing populations such as Indonesia consistently scored higher on the questions than settled, industrialized nations.

"It's interesting countries on the developing side are demonstrating a lot higher sensitivity to topics around environmental responsibility compared to some of the western democracies," he said. "It seems like some of these developing countries are very concerned about this."

Still, Pierro points out the poll suggests environmental concern is important to consumers in almost every country it examined.

"More than half of our population shows strong agreement around things like environmentalism and social responsibility. Half of our population wants decisions that respect the environment.

"I think that's something policy-makers have to take into account."

Based on its methodology, GfK says it has a 95 per cent confidence level in its results.

The poll was released in advance of Earth Day, held on Wednesday. Pierro said its results should interest both political policy-makers and businesses looking to harmonize its marketing strategies with the beliefs of its customers.

The Canadian Press

Queen honours regiments

Queen Elizabeth honoured the First World War contributions of three Canadian regiments on Sunday.

The Queen and Prince Philip attended an event at Canada's High Commission in London to pay tribute to the Calgary Highlanders, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Canadian Scottish Regiment.

The Queen is the Colonel-in-Chief of the Calgary Highlanders and she posed for pictures with current members of the Highlanders, which is a reserve unit.

The Royal couple were greeted by Canadian High Commissioner Gordon Campbell as a crowd of onlookers looked on behind barricades _ some waved British flags.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reported that the Queen wore a white gold and diamond brooch, fashioned in the shape of the cap badge of the Highlanders.

The newspaper reported that the brooch was a token that the regiment created especially for her.

The three units are marking the 100th anniversary of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, the first time Germany used chemical weapons in the First World War.

The Telegraph quoted Campbell as saying it was significant that the Queen took part in the event.

"You can just feel, in the room, how important it is to everyone that she is here," Campbell said.

"It is really an honour and it is the sort of commemorative activity that is important to the soldiers and the service people who are involved."

The Canadian Press

Housing market still hot

According to a report from a major realty company in Canada, high confidence and low inventory is fueling homes sales across the country.

Re/Max Canada just released its 2015 Spring Market Trends Report, which shows the average residential sale price projection up three per cent this year.

In Vancouver and Toronto it can be attributed to low inventory; in other markets (such as Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Halifax) it’s the increase of single buyers; while in Kelowna it can be traced back to low interest rates.

“We’ve pretty much figured it’s got to be because interest rates are so low,” explains Cliff Shillington, Re/Max Kelowna owner.

“I believe consumer confidence is so much stronger, and I think first time homebuyers are saying ‘this is our chance to get into the market, we’d better do it now.'”

This could also explain the surge in condo sales as well across the province, he says.

While forecasters were leery of the fall in oil prices, Shillington says, so far, that hasn’t affected the number of Albertans attempting to buy property in the Okanagan.

“The latest report showing where buyers were coming from in the month of March showed Albertans made up 17 per cent of buyers,” he says.

“At this stage, the price of oil certainly hasn’t affected us.”

The average residential home price in Kelowna is down two per cent year-over-year (from $418,764 to $413,369), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Shillington says condo sales are up and so are the number of first-time home buyers, and the median home price is up five per cent.

“I think we’re just seeing a good, steady influx of people making the decision that they want to own their own property, and now is probably a good time to get into it, because we are seeing the market trend upwards.”

According to the report, Re/Max also expects immigration to continue to have a positive effect on the Canadian economy as well as its housing markets. The country is expected to welcome between 260,000 to 285,000 new permanent residents in 2015.

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