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‘Why can’t they make the future in Oshawa?’ GM VP on electric cars, pensions, and more





Come this time next year, thousands of Ontario General Motors workers will be facing the stark reality that their time at the Oshawa assembly plant is coming to an end. The automotive giant confirmed yesterday that the plant is one of six that will close in North America. 

GM said it’s all part of a global plan to cut costs and dedicate more resources to developing electric and autonomous vehicles. But news that the Oshawa plant would be shuttered left many wondering why the century-old facility was being left out of the future. 

Senior Correspondent Susan Ormiston asked David Paterson, GM’s vice president for corporate and environmental affairs, about that — and more. 

GM’s Paterson explains why the Oshawa, Ont., plant can’t build the vehicles of the future. (CBC News)

Susan Ormiston: So does this plant go because of the U.S. president’s aim to make America first and make America great again and produce in America?

David Paterson: This has absolutely nothing to do with the president. This decision has to do with simply being able to make the transition to the future and reallocate capital into the massive investments that are needed for electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles.

The good news is that in terms of that technology, the one place in the world where we are able to do the software development and the high-tech work that is needed for the future is actually in Canada. We have just opened the Markham technology centre.

We’re hiring up to 1,000 technical engineers right now. We’ve hired 500 in last year, and we’ll expand that technology centre that’s in Markham that will build the cars of the future and the technology of the future.

GM says the Oshawa closure has nothing to do with Trump’s ‘America First’ policy. (Eduardo Lima/Canadian Press)

SO: Given the Canadian investment in GM over the years, why can’t the electric and [autonomous] vehicles be made here instead of somewhere else … why can’t they make the “future” here in Oshawa?

DP: We can make anything here in Oshawa. We could make any type of vehicle…

SO: So why isn’t GM investing in that?

DP: Because there are only so many vehicles on a global basis that are available for the production footprint of GM. We have 75 plants around the world, but we have far too many plants for the demand in the marketplace.

If there is a surge for demand for electrical vehicles then perhaps there’s going to be a need for more production. But you don’t produce things unless there’s a market demand for the products.

Watch Susan Ormiston press GM’s David Paterson on the Oshawa plant’s future:

Susan Ormiston asks GM Vice President of Corporate and Environmental Affairs why the Oshawa plant can’t be used to build the vehicles of the future 1:15

SO: What are GM’s plans to settle with the workers here who have 18 to 24 months left on their contracts? 

DP: Our next steps in dealing with our workers is to sit down and discuss how we make this transition in the next year.

SO: What can you offer them?

GM Vice President, Corporate and Environmental Affairs, David Paterson, says not all of the workers will be relocated to other Ontario plants. (Sylvia Thomson/CBC News)

DP: Well, about half of the workers impacted in GM Oshawa already qualify for a full GM pension. So they’ll be able to retire with a little better than a full pension.

The other half are already covered under the terms of our agreement with Unifor. So they would have things such as additional income support, 65 per cent of base salary, and then whatever else we could negotiate with Unifor in terms of when they would leave and under what benefits and what conditions. So we treat our people very well.

SO: How many of the existing workers can find work within GM elsewhere?

DP: We expect that about half of them will move to retirement because they’re eligible. And then we’ll take a look at which other ones might be able to find work either at our Ingersoll [plant] … or how many would be able to find work at our other plant in St. Catharines. We need to go through that process. But they won’t be able to all be moved to other plants.

Susan Ormiston asks David Paterson whether there will be jobs for everyone at other Ontario plants:

Susan Ormiston asks GM Vice President of Corporate and Environmental Affairs David Paterson how many of the current Oshawa workers could move to other Ontario GM plants. 0:28

This interview has been condensed for length and clarity. 


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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