Provincial government changes strata insurance regulations

The provincial government announced changes on September 13 intended to address rising strata insurance costs that have affected strata owners throughout the province.

Here’s a summary of the changes:

  • Effective immediately, referral fees to strata property managers from strata insurance transactions are prohibited.
  • Effective November 1, strata insurers and agents must provide 30 days advance notice to strata corporations if they intend to not renew an insurance policy or make material changes to the policy.
  • Strata insurance agents will also be required to disclose their commission amount, or a reasonable estimate, to strata corporations. Failing to meet these requirements can result in penalties of up to $25,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.

Click here to read the government’s announcement.

These changes follow the BC Financial Services Authority’s June report that found strata premiums have risen by approximately 40 per cent across the province year-over-year and deductibles have risen as well, sometimes with triple-digit increases.

We’ll share more analysis on these changes in future communications.

Other articles on this issue

Strata insurance – where are we at?

Government steps in to address rising insurance costs for strata owners

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


Breathe and Focus

Meditation has many health benefits and is a highly effective way to relieve stress and maintain a healthier lifestyle. With practice, meditation becomes more of an easy habit to maintain and more of an effective one as well, given that it builds resilience to stress over time.

Here is a basic process to get you started from the verywellmind website:

Step 1: Get Into a Comfortable Position.

Choose where and how you’ll sit. Many people like to sit in a comfortable chair while others prefer to sit cross-legged on the ground. You want to be able to completely relax while still staying awake, which is easier to do if your back is straight. A straight back will also prevent soreness during longer meditations.

Step 2: Gently close your eyes.

Become aware of your breath, attuning to the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall as air enters your nostrils and leaves your mouth. Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.

Step 3: Put your thoughts aside.

While you can’t control your thoughts, you can control how much power they have over you. This doesn’t mean you should ignore or suppress them, but simply remain calm, note them, and then use your breathing to bring you back to the moment. Learning to do this during your meditation practice can help you to let things go in the rest of your life as well.

Step 4: Keep going.

That’s it, really! Keep putting aside any thoughts that may pop into your mind. The quiet spaces between thoughts will become longer and more frequent the longer you practice.

A Few Tips to Help You Get Started:

• Set goals for personal growth and give yourself time to learn.
• Begin with five minutes and use a timer to avoid watching the clock.
• Try different techniques until you find yours.

Canadian Retail Sales (July) – September, 2020

Retail sales rose for the third consecutive month in July by 0.6% on a seasonally-adjusted basis, close to Statistic Canada’s preliminary estimate of 0.7%. This marks a deceleration from the 23% rise in June and a 21% rise in May, as stores were reopening. Sales were up in 6 of 11 subsectors, led by higher sales at auto dealers and at gas stations. Excluding these two subsectors, retail sales declined by 1.2%. Compared to the same time last year, retail sales were up by 5%.

Sales were up in five provinces in July, the most notable increases were in BC, Manitoba, and Alberta. In BC, seasonally-adjusted retail sales were up by 2.1% ($7.6 billion) and by 0.9% ($3.4 billion) in Vancouver. Retail sales were up in the majority of subsectors, except in electronics/appliances and at auto dealers.

Growth in e-commerce sales continued to slow in July, up by 63% year-over-year, following a 71% rise in the previous month. The slowdown is a result of the expansion of the reopening of physical stores. In July, e-commerce sales totaled $2.8 billion, accounting for 4.8% of total retails sales, down from 5% in the previous month. This excludes Canadians purchasing from foreign e-commerce retailers.

Early estimates provided by Statistics Canada for August suggest that retail sales increased by 1.1%. Overall, the recovery in retail sales has been V-shaped with pent-up demand largely dissipated. Government support programs and low interest rates will continue to support retail spending. However, elevated unemployment levels, uncertainty around the continuation of deferral programs, and rising COVID-19 cases could also pose challenges going forward.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Runaway Moon

Titan, the largest moon of the ringed planet Saturn, is moving out. Not just that, but the large moon is escaping at a faster speed than anyone previously realized. CNN reports that Titan is moving away from Saturn at a rate of four inches per year—100 times faster than previously thought. Other moons in the solar system also migrate, but at a slower rate. Earth’s moon, for example, is pulling away some 1.5 inches per year.

Titan, larger than the planet Mercury, orbits Saturn at a distance of 759,000 miles. Titan is the only moon known to have a considerable atmosphere and, aside from Earth, is the only planetary body in the solar system with liquid rivers and lakes on the surface.

Titan will be visited by a NASA probe, Dragonfly, in 2034. The drone will fly through the moon’s thick atmosphere and visit an impact crater formed tens of thousands of years ago, where scientists believe they might find ingredients for life.

Canadian Inflation (Aug) – September, 2020

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.1% in August year-over-year, matching last month’s increase. Excluding gasoline, the CPI rose by 0.6%. Prices rose in five of eight components year-over-year with notable increases in food, shelter, and personal care, while prices continued to fall for transportation, clothing and footwear, and recreation. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation rose by 0.1 percentage points, averaging 1.7% in August.

Regionally, the CPI was positive in five provinces. In BC, CPI rose by 0.2% in August year-over-year, matching last month’s increase. Prices continued to rise for alcohol/tobacco/cannabis, food, shelter, household furnishings, and personal care. The increase in personal care was mainly due to higher prices for haircuts. In contrast, downward price pressures were ongoing in recreation, gas, transportation, and clothing and footwear.

As some provinces begin to re-visit containment measures seen earlier in the pandemic, inflation is expected to continue to be weak. In this environment, the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates low.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.