Canadian Retail Sales (Sept) – Nov, 2019

Seasonally-adjusted Canadian retail sales fell by 0.1% in September to $51.6 billion (after an upwardly revised 0.1% in August), driven by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and at gasoline stations. Retail sales were down in 6 of 11 sub-sectors. Regionally, 7 of 10 provinces reported declines in September with notable declines in Alberta (-1.6%) and New Brunswick (-3.7%).

In B.C., seasonally-adjusted retail sales fell by 0.2% to $7.2 billion in September, driven by a decline in sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and in food and beverage stores. Vancouver also reported a monthly decrease of 0.9% in sales. Declining provincial sales were reported in all sub-sectors except for building material and garden equipment. Compared to the same time last year, B.C. retail sales were down by 0.8% in September.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Rules Of The Road

In the course of daily driving and commutes, we all face unexpected delays and annoyances. People drive too fast or drive too slowly, they cut in the lane without leaving enough room or apply brakes for reasons we can’t see.

To maintain a peaceful feeling, I often invent a story that makes it easy to excuse the other driver. I say things like, “Maybe they are late for work,” “Maybe they have a family emergency” or “Maybe they’ve missed their kid’s last school event and trying not to miss another.”

This story reminds me of what it feels like on the other side of the steering wheel:

When Jane’s car stalled in the middle of a busy intersection, no amount of wishing, hoping and trying to turn the key could get the engine started.

Just as she turned on her hazard lights, the guy in the car behind her began to lay on his horn, and he continued to honk even as other cars pulled around.

Jane walked back to the other driver and said: “My car won’t start and I’m waiting for a tow, but if you think you can get it started, have at it. I’ll sit in your car and honk at you.”

There is a lot of data that suggests driving today requires more focused attention than 10 years ago. Most cars now have access to real-time updates for traffic, communication and entertainment.

Many of us know how distracting technology can be while driving a car, but we very rarely consider how distracting our negative emotions can be behind the wheel. If we pay more attention to that, who knows, maybe we would arrive at our destination safe and in a better mood.

Canadian Inflation (Oct) – Nov, 2019

Canadian inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 1.9 per cent in October year-over-year, matching the increase in September. This marks 7-months of consecutive year-over-year growth in the CPI. Excluding the impact of higher gasoline prices, the CPI rose by 2.3 per cent year-over-year. The Bank of Canada’s three measures of trend inflation remain unchanged to average 2 per cent in October.

In B.C., CPI slowed to 2.2 per cent year-over-year, down from 2.4 per cent in September. The decline was largely driven by recreation, education and reading, while notable increases were reported in gasoline, transportation and clothing and footwear prices.

With Canadian inflation hovering at 2 per cent, the Bank of Canada will likely continue its dovish-to-neutral tone. The Bank will need to see a deterioration in the economic indicators before taking action.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.


You can “empower” an employee to carry out a task, but whose fault is it if he or she fails? Managers and employees share equal responsibility for making empowerment successful. Here’s what each of you has to do:

  • Show your interest. If you feel ready to take on more responsibility, discuss available opportunities with your boss. You’ll be able to clarify what kinds of decisions you can be empowered to make and when you should seek advice from your manager.
  • Suggest a trial. Convince your leader of your abilities by offering to handle one or two responsibilities on a trial basis. This will let the boss see what you’ve got and give you the freedom you crave.
  • Understand your leader’s needs. Remember that your boss may have to justify your decisions and actions to other people. A surprise could make your boss look bad.
  • Analyze your attitude. How important is control to you? Pay attention to what you delegate and what you handle on your own. Are you allowing your workers to develop their skills, or preventing them from moving forward?
  • Explain your priorities. Explain to employees why you need to perform certain tasks by yourself. Be sure your reasons have a solid business foundation beneath them.
  • Practice. Look for opportunities to delegate tasks whenever you can. Make sure you’re empowering people to do meaningful work, not just unpleasant jobs you want to avoid. It will get easier over time.

Take Time to Plan Each Day

Strategic planning can be streamlined, as long as you’re focused on the right issues. Spending a few minutes each day on these questions will help you see where you have to go:

• What are your goals?
• What strategies are you using to pursue them?
• What obstacles are preventing you from achieving them?
• What could you do differently?
• What resources do you have? What do you need?

Home Sales Continue Normalization Trend in October

Vancouver, BC – November, 2019. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,666 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October, an increase of 19.3 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $724,045, an increase of 5.1 per cent from October 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $5.55 billion, a 25.4 per cent increase from the same month last year.

“Most markets around the province are returning to a more typical level of sales activity,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “That recovery in sales and slower listings activity is putting upward pressure on prices in many markets.”

MLS® residential active listings in the province were up 1 per cent from September 2018 to 36,567 units, although down slightly when compared on a seasonally adjusted basis. With sales and listings down, overall market conditions in the province have tightened, with a sales-to-active listings ratio of 21 per cent.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 9 per cent to $45.3 billion, compared with the same period in 2018. Residential unit sales were 6.2 per cent lower at 65,468 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 3 per cent year-to-date at $691,618.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.

Video Update: The Metro Vancouver Housing Market Is Experiencing A Fall Pickup In Home Sale Activity

VANCOUVER, BC – November, 2019 – The Metro Vancouver* housing market is experiencing a fall pickup in home sale activity.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,858 in October 2019, a 45.4 per cent increase from the 1,966 sales recorded in October 2018, and a 22.5 per cent increase from the 2,333 homes sold in September 2019.

Last month’s sales were 9.8 per cent above the 10-year October sales average.

“Home buyers have more confidence today than we saw in the first half of the year,” says Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “With prices edging down over the last year and interest rates remaining low, hopeful home buyers are becoming more active this fall.”

Learn From Mistakes

Despite your best and most creative efforts, your innovative project has failed. Don’t despair. The Jeffrey Baumgartner website recommends analyzing the failure by asking these questions:

What went right? It’s a rare failure that doesn’t have some redeeming qualities. Identify things that went well. It’ll cheer you up, and you may incorporate those small victories into your next project.

What went wrong? Now that you’re feeling a little better, look at where you tripped up. Make a list of the mistakes you made so you’re clear on the root causes of the failure.

Why did it go wrong? Maybe your process was flawed, or you had bad information, or you made incorrect assumptions. Ask the people around you for their perceptions. When you learn why things went awry, you’ll be better able to avoid future mistakes.

Are you repeating mistakes? Everyone makes the occasional mistake. You’ve got to be sure you’re not making the same mistakes over and over again. Look at past failures to determine whether your process is flawed in some way.

What can you salvage? Take a look at the end result and see if you can find something useful to recycle— data, equipment, product components, whatever. Your project won’t be a complete loss if you can repurpose at least some of its elements.


The owner of a neighborhood coffee stand, Jon, noticed that people would complain about the same problems every day on their way to work.

One day he told a joke, and everyone roared with laughter. The next morning, he told the same people the same joke and only got a few chuckles.

By Thursday, he’d told the same joke over and over; nobody was laughing anymore. Friday, he merely smiled at all of his customers and mentioned that just as you can’t tell the same joke and get the same laugh, you can’t always cry over the same problem. He went on to tell them that he was sure today would be a great day.

On Monday, nobody had a single complaint.

Canadian Housing Starts (Oct) – November, 2019

Canadian housing starts decreased by 8.7% in October to 201,973 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). The decline was due to a pullback in the multi-unit segment. The trend in national housing starts continues to be healthy, averaging 218,598 units SAAR over the past six months.

In BC, housing starts declined by 16% on a monthly basis to 33,174 units SAAR, largely due to falling construction in the multi-unit segment. The decline is an unwinding of developers pushing forward activity in the previous months to get ahead of a new development charge in Vancouver. Compared to the same time last year, provincial starts were up by 9%. On a monthly basis, multi-unit starts were down by 22%, while singles were up by 10%.

Looking at census metropolitan areas in BC:

Housing starts in Vancouver were down by 37% in October at 15,657 units SAAR, driven entirely by the multi-unit segment. Compared to last year in October, housing starts in Vancouver were down by 11%.

In Victoria, housing starts were down by 36% on a monthly basis to 3,880 units SAAR, following last month’s highest recording of starts since December 2018. Compared to a year ago, housing starts were up by 43%.

In Kelowna, housing starts increased by 155% in October to 3,870 units SAAR. Year-over-year starts were up by 423% in the region.

Monthly housing starts in Abbotsford-Mission were up by 13% at 2,335 units SAAR. Compared to this time last year, new home construction was up by 34%.

For more information, please contact: Gino Pezzani.