Posts Tagged ‘Canadian’

Canadian dwelling gross sales dropped sharply in January to their lowest month-to-month degree in three years amid a retreat in listings as new mortgage guidelines got here into place, in accordance with a brand new report from a nationwide actual property group.

The Canadian Actual Property Affiliation (CREA) mentioned Thursday that dwelling gross sales by the A number of Itemizing Service (MLS) declined by 14.5 per cent from December to January this 12 months.

December gross sales hit the very best month-to-month degree on file, citing a “pull-through” of transactions as patrons rushed to get offers achieved upfront of the brand new mortgage guidelines kicking in on Jan. 1, mentioned CREA.

On a year-over-year foundation, nationwide gross sales dropped by 2.four per cent in January.

CREA mentioned exercise final month was down in three-quarters of all native markets throughout the nation, together with most main city centres.

The group mentioned lots of the greatest gross sales declines have been seen in Ontario’s Better Golden Horseshoe markets, the place gross sales rose late final 12 months following the announcement of the tighter mortgage guidelines.

Conversely, gross sales have been up 12 months over 12 months in B.C.’s Decrease Mainland and Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Area, Edmonton, Montreal, Better Moncton and Halifax-Dartmouth.


CREA additionally reported the variety of newly listed houses plunged 21.6 per cent to achieve the bottom degree because the spring of 2009.

The group mentioned new housing provide dropped in about 85 per cent of all native markets, led by a decline within the Better Toronto Space.

“The piling on of but extra mortgage rule adjustments that took impact beginning New Yr’s Day has created homebuyer uncertainty and confusion,” mentioned CREA president Andrew Peck in an announcement.

“On the similar time, the adjustments do nothing to handle authorities issues about dwelling costs that stem from an ongoing provide scarcity in main markets like Vancouver and Toronto. Until these provide shortages are addressed, issues will persist.”

In a commentary, BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic mentioned Toronto dwelling gross sales fell 26.6 per cent in January, however added that the slide “nearly exactly” offsets the ramp-up in gross sales over the ultimate three months of final 12 months.

Vancouver gross sales have been off by 10.5 per cent in January.

Kavcic mentioned Vancouver, very like Toronto, has a “deep rift in circumstances” between its detached-home market, which has falling costs, and its rental market, which he described as “extraordinarily tight” with costs up greater than 27 per cent year-over-year. 

He additionally cautioned towards studying an excessive amount of within the January report.

“We might preserve that many of the nationwide housing market is properly balanced, with native markets responding appropriately to various fundamentals and coverage shocks. Within the [Greater Toronto Area], the indifferent market continues to be absorbing further measures taken on the provincial degree, whereas rental markets in Vancouver and Toronto are nonetheless heated.”

‘Smooth touchdown’

TD economists Michael Dolega and Rishi Sondhi mentioned in report that the nation’s financial development and bettering job market is predicted to assist the housing market within the medium time period.

Nevertheless, they added that the brand new mortgage underwriting guidelines, greater rates of interest, and an elevated provide pipeline will put some downward stress on gross sales exercise and costs.

“Nonetheless, we stay of the view that weak spot will manifest as a continuation of the comfortable touchdown that has been happening in Canada’s housing market  not too long ago,” they wrote. “In the end, we count on declining gross sales and flat costs this 12 months earlier than exercise improves considerably in 2019.”

The final time HMCS Chicoutimi crossed an ocean, the boat flooded, caught hearth, and a sailor died. Practically a decade and a half later, the diesel-electric submarine has deployed to Asia — farther from residence than any Canadian sub in 5 many years — on a mission the Canadian navy hopes will erase doubts concerning the vessel’s effectiveness.

Although deliberate for greater than a 12 months, the mission comes at a very delicate time.

North Korea’s nuclear and missile growth exercise has spiked in current months regardless of commerce sanctions. Worldwide tensions have risen to the purpose the place the U.S. is contemplating choices that would embrace a navy strike on the Korean Peninsula.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Cmdr. Stephane Ouellet of the HMCS Chicoutimi, proper, is one in every of simply three certified submarine captains within the Royal Canadian Navy. (David Widespread/CBC Information)

CBC Information had unprecedented entry onboard the Canadian sub because it tracked suspicious vessels and exercise, and skilled with naval vessels from accomplice nations working to watch and implement the financial sanctions in Asia-Pacific waters.

“Our stealth is one thing we have to guard,” says Cmdr. Stephane Ouellet, Chicoutimi’s Commanding Officer, referring to the specifics of the present mission. “[But] we’re working rather more than any Canadian thinks … deployed for nearly 200 days and farther than we have ever operated earlier than.”

It took 5 weeks for the boat to journey from its residence base in Esquimalt, B.C., to its categorised patrolling space, making port visits in Japan and Guam.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Fight Officer Lt. David Henry raises HMCS Chicoutimi’s periscope for under seconds at a time, to keep away from being seen by ships on the floor. (David Widespread/CBC Information)

What precisely the sub has been doing, or can do, stays secret.

Ouellet confirms the sub is able to discreetly recording occasions on land, akin to airport take-offs and landings. Its main function revolves round monitoring service provider and navy vessels whereas submerged, and observing suspicious exercise on the ocean, together with ship-to-ship cargo transfers removed from any harbour.

That type of functionality is essential within the area proper now. The U.S. has accused China and Russia of breaching UN sanctions on North Korea by transferring oil from their ships to North Korean tankers out at sea to keep away from detection.

On the finish of January, Japan’s navy recognized a Dominican-flagged tanker transferring oil to a North Korean vessel, for instance.

Oil transfer

Undated U.S. satellite tv for pc information purportedly reveals an unlawful switch of oil from a Hong Kong-flagged tanker to a North Korean vessel, in violation of UN sanctions. (U.S. Treasury Division)

The North Korean regime depends on oil to energy its navy, and the oil sanctions are meant to limit its nuclear weapons growth.

However monitoring criminal activity is tough, particularly in distant expanses of ocean.

Satellites solely cross over an space intermittently, typically simply as soon as a day, and floor ships can scare off illicit exercise.

That is the place the submarine performs an important function, watching areas of concern or particular targets across the clock.

In response to Chicoutimi’s fight officer, Lt. David Hendry, “no matter ship or object we’re observing, they’re unaware of the truth that we’re there. And that could be a enormous bonus, as a result of [then] they are not going to cease what they’re doing.”

HMCS Chicoutimi

A part of HMCS Chicoutimi’s mission is to maintain watch on transport exercise. This undated picture taken from the submarine’s periscope is a rarity, as naval officers seldom launch materials gathered by subs. (David Commom/CBC)

New type of mission

HMCS Chicoutimi was one in every of 4 mothballed subs purchased used from the UK within the 1990s.

What was considered a sweetheart deal led to years of issues, beginning with the 2004 hearth aboard Chicoutimi when it first left the U.Okay. for Canada.

Within the years since, rust and welding points have continued to plague the fleet, which has both been in dry dock, or crusing with restricted capabilities.

Right this moment, the scenario has improved and a sub is all the time working on each the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, together with missions to determine unlawful fishing or environmental crimes by vessels in Canadian waters.

HMCS Chicoutimi

A couple of dozen naval trainees aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi are working to earn their ‘dolphins,’ the official certification for submariners. Right here, an skilled hand is quizzing the trainees throughout a relaxed interval between dives. (David Widespread/CBC Information)

The Chicoutimi’s deployment within the Pacific removed from its residence port is an enormous departure from the common kinds of missions for a Canadian sub. CBC Information was on board lately as HMCS Chicoutimi stalked one other ship in waters off Asia as a part of a coaching train.

In the course of the chase, the Captain introduced to his 58-person crew: “We’re sneaking up on the warship now … at this level, I think he does not know the place we’re.”

The sub used sonar to trace the vessel and raised one in every of its two periscopes above the waves for visible affirmation, although for under seconds at a time to keep away from being seen.

The Canadian boat adopted a French frigate for greater than two hours earlier than surfacing lower than a kilometre from the vessel. The Captain used codenames (Chicoutimi was “Ice Wine”) over a safe radio to warn the warship simply previous to surfacing. Till that time, the ship’s crew was unaware how shut the Canadian sub had been.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Cmdr. Ouellet radios a French frigate after the Chicoutimi surfaced close by. (David Widespread/CBC)

“We offer a unique degree of situational consciousness,” says Ouellet. “We will basically accumulate intelligence from a unique angle, we are able to come shut, we are able to learn the identify of a vessel, decide its course and velocity and shortly report.”

For safety causes, the crew couldn’t talk about every other particular interceptions it has been concerned with in current weeks within the area.

Life aboard a sub

Features of the Chicoutimi’s mission are shrouded in secrecy, however the 58 folks aboard have little privateness themselves.

Sleeping quarters quantity to a bunk, typically embedded in one other piece of apparatus to avoid wasting area. Greater than a dozen sleep above, beneath, or instantly beside the boat’s Mark 48 torpedoes, for instance.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Area on a submarine is extraordinarily tight. On the Chicoutimi, a few of the crew sleep beneath the sub’s torpedoes.

“We do not differentiate between genders,” says the one girl aboard, Grasp Seaman Anna Whiten. “We do not segregate within the Canadian Navy the way in which the People have. The ladies’s quarters do not exist.”

Solely the Captain has his personal quarters, a tiny compartment adjoining to the noisy management room, the place steering, navigation and sonar capabilities are staffed.

The crewmembers usually work eight hours on responsibility, eight off, then 4 hours on and 4 off. However everybody known as on responsibility when the submarine is diving, surfacing, monitoring one other vessel, or coping with an emergency onboard.

HMCS Chicoutimi

Grasp Seaman Anna Whiten appears to be like down by means of one in every of HMCS Chicoutimi’s hatches. In contrast to vessels in different navies, the Canadian sub has no segregated quarters. (David Widespread/CBC)

And on an advanced piece of equipment like a submarine, issues can go flawed. Whereas CBC Information was on the Chicoutimi, the engineers spent hours trying to restore the sub’s chilled water techniques which, amongst different issues, preserve meals chilly on board.

The issue could not be fastened at sea, so the Chicoutimi put in at a close-by port for restore.

HMCS Chicoutimi

One of many Royal Canadian Navy’s objectives for the present Chicoutimi mission is to point out allies that its submarines are able to taking up worldwide roles past Canadian waters. (David Widespread/CBC)

It was the primary technical challenge to lead to a schedule change throughout the submarine’s present deployment.

Regardless of the minor setback, the Royal Canadian Navy has excessive hopes for this mission. After years of issues, Chicoutimi’s far-flung deployment is meant to ship a sign to allies — and Canadians — that the submarines can now go anyplace they’re wanted.

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Four women filed civil lawsuits Wednesday against Albert Schultz, accusing the Canadian actor and artistic director of the Soulpepper Theatre Company of sexual battery and harassment of a sexual nature over a 13-year period.

Toronto-based Soulpepper has also been named in the statements of claim of each lawsuit, which detail allegations of unwanted groping, harassment and sexual remarks in the workplace from 2000 to 2013.

“Albert is a serial sexual predator who…had well-developed methods for targeting actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them,” the lawsuits allege, adding that the methods were “facilitated by Soulpepper.”

Sexual battery is a term used in civil lawsuits to describe unwanted touching of a sexual nature.

In all, the women in the four statements of claim allege 30 separate incidents, many of them with specific locations and dates.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Schultz and the Soulpepper board were served notice of the claim, but they have not yet issued a response or made a statement to the media.

For some of the allegations, there were no witnesses and the women didn’t tell anyone. In other instances, CBC News spoke with friends and family members who said they’d been told about the incidents at the time.

THEATRE Soulpepper Off Broadway 20170627

Soulpepper director Albert Schultz, centre, speaks to cast members during rehearsals for the production of Spoon River in Toronto in March 2017. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

CBC News has also spoken with some of Schultz’s colleagues at Soulpepper, who said they had never witnessed the director behave inappropriately. They said he is passionate and a maverick who “experiments” with actors to get the best performances out of them.

However, two of the theatre company’s founding members, Ted Dykstra and Stuart Hughes, along with actor Michelle Monteith, released a statement saying they believe the plaintiffs and hope their support will send “a message to organizations everywhere: sexual harassment in the workplace cannot be tolerated. By anyone.”

CBC has learned that four actors at Soulpepper intend to resign Thursday if Schultz does not leave his role as the company’s artistic director. A fifth person, a director, plans to do the same.

In addition to the four women who have launched the civil suit, as part of a joint investigation by The National and The Fifth Estate, CBC journalists have spoken with four other women who said they were disturbed by interactions of a sexualized nature with him.

Schultz, 54, is a member of the Order of Canada and may be best known to television audiences for his work on the CBC drama Street Legal, which aired between 1987 and 1994.

He’s a founding member of Soulpepper, one of Canada’s most successful theatre companies, which recently completed a critically acclaimed run off-Broadway in New York.

‘I felt him push his penis against me.’ – Patricia Fagan

Schultz is also an executive producer on Kim’s Convenience, the play-turned-hit TV show that airs on CBC. The show is independently produced by Thunderbird Productions.

“In light of the serious allegations made public today, we expect Thunderbird will take the necessary actions to ensure a safe and respectful workplace and we have conveyed that to them,” said Emma Bedard, a spokeswoman for CBC.

The four women are individually asking for damages of up to $ 1.25 million from Schultz, as well as separate damages from the theatre company, to compensate for what they claim has been mental suffering, lost wages and injury to dignity and self-respect.   

They only agreed to speak on record with the CBC once they had the protection that comes from filing a lawsuit in court.

These are women [who] have been harassed at work,” said Alexi Wood, the lawyer who filed the claim.

“There’s a power imbalance that exists. Albert was their boss,” she said. “He wields a huge amount of power, not just in Soulpepper, but in the theatre world in general.”

Allegations of bullying, lewd comments

The four women who filed lawsuits alleging they were harassed by Schultz are actors Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller and Patricia Fagan.

In her lawsuit’s statement of claim, Fagan alleges Schultz fostered a climate of “mocking, belittling and bullying” at Soulpepper, often leaving her feeling “vulnerable and hunted.”

During rehearsals for a Soulpepper production of Twelfth Night in 2000, when Fagan was 23, she claims Schultz, as director, inserted himself into a scene to demonstrate what he wanted his lead actor to do.

Patricia Fagan

Actor Patricia Fagan joined Soulpepper at the age of 23. Now 41, she stopped working with Soulpepper in 2013. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

It was at that point, Fagan alleges, that “I felt him push his penis against me.” She says she didn’t react, assuming the contact was called for in the scene, although she felt “violated” by the “gratuitous demonstration.”

Fagan claims that Schultz once slid his hand under her skirt and rubbed the underside of her thigh during a rehearsal. She also alleges Schultz flashed his penis at her seconds before she was getting ready to make her entrance on stage for a live performance. CBC spoke with that play’s director, who said while he doesn’t recall the incident, he believes Fagan’s account, adding that Schultz was a joker who sometimes crossed the line.

In a rehearsal of a flirtatious scene in another play, Fagan alleges Schultz congratulated her performance by pretending to have an orgasm.

‘I was so humiliated. I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but I did fall into a depression. I can see that now.’ – Patricia Fagan

“He…starts ripping Kleenex out of the box to show that he was having an orgasm, with the Kleenex being his ejaculate,” she told CBC News. “That was to say, like, ‘Well done, you were sexy in that scene.'”  

Fagan started with Soulpepper fresh out of theatre school at 23, and worked on and off with the company until 2013. Now 41, she called her early days at the theatre company “devastating.”

“I was so humiliated,” Fagan said. “I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but I did fall into a depression. I can see that now.”

‘I could feel his genitals against my body’

Award-winning actor Kristin Booth, 43, alleges she endured similar conduct in her work with Soulpepper. She said it started when she was 25 and, like Fagan, performing in the production of Twelfth Night in 2000.

During rehearsals for that play and another directed by Schultz five years later, Booth claims she endured unwanted hugs, kisses and touching, as well as sexually suggestive language.

Albert’s hugs were different,” Booth said in an interview. “There were times in some of the hugs where I could feel his genitals against my body.”

Kristin Booth

Kristin Booth started at Soulpepper in 2000. Her breakthrough was a performance in a production of Twelfth Night. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

She claims he would also kiss her on the lips and talk about enjoying “how soft and full they were,” as well as comment on her “milky white breasts in front of the other cast members.”

During a 2005 production of Olympia, Booth alleges Schultz took advantage of his position as director to touch her inappropriately as she and the lead actor rehearsed an intimate scene. She claims Schultz pushed the actor aside and the director “proceeded to run his hands up my body.”

Booth added that no other director has done that to her, not even on the set of the highly sexualized 2007 film Young People F–king, a performance for which she won a Genie Award.

Soulpepper turns to outside experts

The lawsuits filed in Ontario Superior Court allege Soulpepper either knew or was “willfully blind to the fact Albert was a sexual predator” and created a “poisonous work environment by not acting to curb the alleged behaviour.”

There have been allegations in the past. Soulpepper revealed in October 2017 that it had severed ties with longtime guest artist and director Laszlo Marton over allegations of sexual harassment reported to the theatre company two years ago.

The company said at the time it was “dedicated to creating a safe place of belonging for artists, audiences, and aspirants.”

In the wake of Marton’s dismissal, Soulpepper sent an internal email to staff obtained by CBC, which vowed to “improve on the workplace dynamics” and promised that management’s “doors continue to be open” to anyone wishing to speak with them.

In the memo, Soulpepper said an outside expert hired to review the company’s anti-harassment policies had submitted her report and that she “did not have any significant concerns.” The email also said managers were “not aware of any allegations of sexual harassment at Soulpepper” aside from those against Marton.

Soulpepper Albert Schultz

Schultz presided over the celebrations of Soulpepper’s 20th season at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre in New York City on Canada Day 2017. (Henry McGee/Soulpepper)

The email was co-signed by the theatre company’s head of human resources, Sarah Farrell, and executive director Leslie Lester, who is also married to Schultz.

The statements of claim allege Soulpepper’s harassment policy, instituted in March 2016, is flawed since it requires allegations of harassment be reported to the head of HR and/or Lester, “to whom cast members could not expect to report harassment, particularly sexual harassment” about her husband.

‘He was the boss’

For years, the four women said that they did not speak out about the alleged harassment out of fear of reprisals or losing work since, as one of the statements said, Schultz had “such power and reach in the Canadian theatre world.”

“There are so many actors and so few jobs. And so we just put up with it,” Fagan said, a worry echoed by her colleague.

“You didn’t want to displease Albert. You didn’t want to get in his line of sight because you would pay for it,” Booth told CBC. “I knew it was wrong. But I also wanted to keep my job.”

‘I’ve had a few people say, “You’re so brave,” and I don’t see it that way, because I’m terrified.’ – Kristin Booth

Booth said it was a difficult decision for her to move forward with a lawsuit against Schultz, even though she hasn’t worked with Soulpepper in 12 years and now concentrates on film and TV.

“I’ve had a few people say, ‘You’re so brave,’ and I don’t see it that way, because I’m terrified,” Booth told CBC.

“For me, it’s a necessity,” she added. “I don’t have a choice anymore.”

Do you work in the entertainment industry and have a story to share? Contact Salimah Shivji at or (416) 205-2287 or Saman Malik at or (416) 205-6017.