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The future of cash in Canada





There have never been more ways to pay for something as there are now and the oldest way — cash — is on the decline, especially in Canada. But some experts are raising concerns about the risks of a cashless society.

Timothy Lane, deputy governor of the Bank of Canada, outlined a few reasons to reconsider going completely cashless during a recent talk about cryptocurrency at the University of Calgary.

“Cash works even when the systems are down, when the power goes out and people can still make payments using bank notes,” said Lane. “Second, bank notes offer privacy for your transactions. You can use them without giving anyone your personal or your banking information. Using cash avoids the risk of being hacked or having your card compromised.”

The Bank of Canada considered all of this in a discussion paper released this fall called “Is a Cashless Society Problematic?” The paper cites the consistent decline of cash payments in Canada for decades.

It also mentions an analysis by Forex Bonuses, which declared Canada the top country in the world embracing cashless technology. A very close second was Sweden, a country where the government is now studying how going cashless could affect the nation.

The findings, referenced in the Bank of Canada paper, focused on indicators such as the number of credit cards per person and the volume of cashless transactions.

Cashless systems aren’t perfect

To save drivers time and to reduce traffic congestion, New York state switched to cashless toll booths at Grand Island, where millions of tourists travelling to Niagara Falls pass through every year.

For users without a pass, the state mails the registered owner a bill. The complication is mailing bills to Canadian addresses attached to license plates. The state can’t access that information, which they didn’t fully consider when implementing the system.  

Still, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has said he wants the cashless system to be implemented statewide by 2020.

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Legion experimented with cashless fundraising efforts this year with their digital Remembrance Day poppy.

“It gives us an opportunity to perhaps reach a younger Canadian audience,” said Pamela Sweeny, executive director of the Royal Canadian Legion. “We feel that, in this day and age, most people aren’t walking around with wallets and change purses.”

Canadians could purchase, personalize and post a digital poppy, while still contributing money to veterans. An opportunity they might not have had if they were limited to putting cash into a box.

The future of digital payments

Andreas Park, an associate professor of finance at the University of Toronto, supports these initiatives and believes in a cashless society.

“I would really appreciate it if cash would go. I think it is inconvenient,” said Park, who read the Bank of Canada paper with interest.

Andreas Park, an associate professor of finance at the University of Toronto, says cash is “inconvenient.” (University of Toronto)

“They did discuss, for instance, the possibility of introducing a digital currency, which would then be issued by the central bank,” said Park. “I hope that they actually will be going with it because I like the idea of a digital currency being issued alongside the mobile banking and the banking system.”

The Bank of Canada describes this technology as “simple monetary value stored electronically … [that] can be used to make payments.”

Concerns about seniors and security

We aren’t there yet, and Park acknowledges the concerns around going cashless.

“My mother, she’s old and she has dementia and, for her, dealing with a card is just too difficult. The only way she can spend money is with cash,” said Park. “Now, this is a small part of the population. In Canada, this would be probably under two or three per cent of people actually insisting on using cash. But it’s not nothing.”

Park also says when you depend on electronic systems, you’re susceptible to hacks and power outages. Still, he believes the benefits far outweigh the risks.

“I think this would put us in the best spot, and I’d like cash to go away cause I think cash creates risk,” said Park. “Imagine how much you could save by not having to worry about people stealing money from others. Because if somebody steals your wallet, your money is gone.”

In concluding their paper, the Bank of Canada leaves little debate in which way we’re headed.

It reads, “We find that a cashless society would not generally cause material system-wide problems.”

In other words, we’re moving toward becoming completely cashless, whether we like it or not.


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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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