Surgeons at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have successfully transplanted kidneys from a genetically modified pig into the abdomen of a 57-year-old man, who was clinically brain dead.

According to the New York Times, the kidneys functioned well without signs of rejection. The landmark procedure occurred just weeks after University of Maryland surgeons completed a successful pig-to-human heart transplant.

Researchers believe that organs grown in genetically modified animals could potentially save countless lives. In the United States alone, more than a dozen people die every day while waiting for a kidney transplant.


The Canadian economy grew 0.1 per cent in November, matching the rate of growth in October. In contrast to the pandemic economy of the previous two years, the services sector is now leading the economy while goods producing sectors struggle.  Overall, growth was fairly broad-based with 14 of 20 Canadian industrial sectors posting positive growth. Rising interest rates continue to impact highly rate-sensitive sectors like residential construction and real estate. Residential construction activity contracted 1.8 per cent in November and output from offices of Real Estate Agents and Brokers fell 4.2 per cent, the ninth consecutive monthly decline in that sector.

With November's data and Statistics Canada's preliminary estimate of zero growth in December, the final quarter of 2022 likely saw growth of 1.6 per cent on an annualized basis. While GDP data is showing signs of a slowing economy, that slowdown has yet to show up in the labour market where job gains remain robust and the unemployment rate is at a historical low. However, we expect that as higher interest rates begin impacting the wider economy this year, slowing growth will catch up to the labour market. That outlook is shared by the bond market where long-term rates have been falling as investors price in expectations of a slowing economy. If that trend continues, we should see further relief on fixed mortgage rates this year while variable rate holders will have to wait for a pivot to lower rates from the Bank of Canada.


For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


Metro Vancouver home sales set or neared historic records in 2021 and 2022 on both ends of the spectrum. Sales activity hit a record high in March of 2021 and closed 2022 near historic lows after accounting for typical seasonal variation.

The key economic variable most responsible for this oscillation between extremes has been the spike in mortgage rates, as a result of the Bank of Canada rapidly raising the policy interest rate to quell inflationary pressures not seen in the country in more than thirty years.

At the time of publication, inflation remains stubbornly high, despite the Bank of Canada’s historically monumental efforts to bring inflation back to their preferred target range of between one and three per cent. Largely because of this, mortgage rates are expected to remain higher than market participants had been used to in recent times.

Home sales in 2023 will remain in line with last year while prices may see small increases, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s first 2023 Residential Market Forecast.

The forecast looks at current and historical market trends alongside economic factors like inflation and risk of recession to predict what 2023’s housing market will look like.

A second forecast will be coming in the second half of the year.

Key highlights 

1. The Bank of Canada is at, or very near, the peak of the current interest rate tightening cycle.

2. Apartment sales are forecast to decrease over last year, while detached homes are forecast to increase. 

3. While increasing mortgage costs are decreasing purchasing power, other factors will continue to put upward pressure on prices. 

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

The link of the report: Read the report


1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced (discards seeds and pulp)

2 red onions, cut into wedges

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

1 small clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon za’atar spice

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash and onion in a bowl with olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt and some black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are fully cooked.

For the sauce, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic and teaspoon of salt until you have a liquid the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini as necessary.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce.

This is a heart-healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe. Butternut squash is also high in insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar to promote fullness and regulate blood sugar.

Tahini-based sauce, made from sesame seeds, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The olive oil, which is used to roast the squash, contains omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol.


Freedom Day, Feb. 1. This day commemorates the signing of a resolution for the 13th amendment to the American Constitution, which proposed the abolishment of slavery.

Groundhog Day, Feb. 2. This American tradition celebrates the weather prediction made by a groundhog.

National Pizza Day, Feb. 9. Whether you call it a pizza or a pie, it's time to celebrate that crowd- favorite food and top it with whatever you like!

Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Don't forget to express your love and affection to the one who matters most to you.

National Chili Day, Feb. 23. Celebrating the ultimate winter cook-off dish! Do you prefer it with or without beans?


The Bank of Canada raised its overnight policy rate by 25 basis points to 4.5 per cent this morning. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that recent economic growth in Canada as been stronger than expected and labour markets remain tight but it sees growing evidence that monetary policy is working to slow the economy. The Bank expects the economy to stall through the middle of 2023 before picking up later in the year.  The Bank sees improvement in the inflation outlook with signs that core inflation has peaked and it projects a significant decline in inflation this year. It expects inflation to return to its 2 per cent target by 2024.

Most importantly, the Bank stated that it expects to hold its policy rate at 4.5 per cent as it monitors the impact of the last year of rate increases. While the door remains open to further rate increases should the outlook for inflation change, the Bank for now is on hold.  From here, the trajectory of mortgage rates will depend on the outlook for the economy. With growth expected to slow in 2023, markets are pricing in Bank of Canada rate cuts by the end of this year and average five-year fixed mortgage rates have declined in January from their peak of 5.5 per cent to 5.19 per cent and will likely fall further in coming months. However, the average variable rate mortgage, now at 6.35 per cent will stay elevated until the Bank of Canada begins lowering its policy rate.


For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


The speculation and vacancy tax is an annual tax based on how owners use residential properties in areas in B.C. affected most by the current housing shortage crisis. 

The B.C. government announced the expansion of areas where the speculation and vacancy tax applies. Owners in these areas will not have to declare until 2024. See taxable regions for specific municipalities and regions. 

Find out more about how the speculation and vacancy tax applies to you.

You can declare as soon as you receive your declaration letter. It includes your Letter ID and Declaration Code, which can be found at the top right corner of your letter.

Find out when to expect your letter.

It only takes a few minutes to declare online. It's faster than calling and your information will be safe and secure.

Button link to declare now

Here is the link from the Gorvernment site:

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in North America. But during winter, it is the leading cause according to the National Fire Protection Association. To avoid home-heating fires, remember these rules:

Portable heaters fueled by gas, kerosene, wood or coal: All heaters must be at least 36 inches away from anything that can burn. Never leave them on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep. And never dry clothing on a heater.

Kerosene heaters: Use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. (Never use gasoline!) When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool before adding fuel. Wipe up spills promptly. Store kerosene away from heat or open flame in an approved container.

Fireplaces: Have the chimney inspected prior to the start of the heating season and cleaned if necessary. Creosote builds up in chimneys and causes chimney fires. Always use a sturdy screen when the fireplace is in use. Remember to burn only wood. (Never burn paper or pine boughs.) And never use flammable liquids in a fireplace.

Wood stoves: Be sure the stove meets local fire codes and is properly installed and maintained. Chimney connections should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season. Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as for space heaters. Burn only wood, and ensure the stove has approved stove boards below it and behind it to protect floors and walls.


Nearly 20% of cars on the road have a loose gas cap. The Car Council says an unsealed cap allows gasoline to vaporize, reducing your mileage by up to 2 miles a gallon. That's as bad as under inflated tires, dirty air filters and worn spark plugs.

Always twist the gas cap until you hear it click. On older vehicles, check for a  tight seal.

Driving 55 mph saves gas, but as long as you keep your speed at 65 or under, you'll save fuel on a trip, according to

On dry roads, use cruise control to maintain a steady speed. On frozen roads, don't use cruise control because you'll want to speed up and slow down as conditions and traffic allow.


Canadian seasonally-adjusted retail sales fell 0.1 per cent in November to $61.8 billion. Sales fell in 6 of 11 subsectors, but were led by lower sales at food and beverage stores (-1.6 per cent) and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-3.8 per cent). Core retail sales, which strips out gasoline and motor vehicle and parts dealers, declined 1.1 per cent. In volume terms, sales fell 0.4 per cent in November. 

In BC, seasonally-adjusted sales rose 0.9 per cent in November. Compared to the same month last year, retail sales were up 4.4 per cent in the province. In the Greater Vancouver region, sales rose 0.9 per cent month-over-month and were up 4 per cent year-over-year. 

In November, in the run-up to the holiday shopping season, Canadian e-commerce sales rose 26 per cent to $4.4 billion, corresponding to 6.5 per cent of retail sales. This percentage remains elevated relative to pre-pandemic levels, but is lower than during core months of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.


For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

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