Ontario Home Builder - Winter 2022

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Our experts predict what lies ahead.

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Still Standing

The home building industry has withstood a barrage of economic blows. But what does the year ahead hold?

28 Getting Around in Style

Accessible design is stepping it up a notch, and builders should take note.

9 One Voice With elections looming, we need to get all stakeholders on board. 11 Ontario Report Your 2022 HBA EO list, MECP is modernizing environmental approvals, Baby Needs a New Home, construction industry careers get a boost and new Queen’s Park legislation. ohba.ca


17 Trending LG’s towering success, a bright idea from San Remo, Uplynk makes a connection, La Cornue gets colourful, and new products from Radon Guard, Navien and more. 39 Building Buzz NKBA releases report, EQ Awards and OHBA members give back.

47 Product Focus As the HVAC industry prepares for an allelectric world, some hybrid models are helping to fill the heating gap. 54 Frame of Mind What if we were to take a neighbourhood view of net-zero energy? Ottawa and Washington State projects show the way.


As the home building industry enters the new year, a number of variables are conspiring to threaten market stability.



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Take a photo of our QR code and sign up for digital updates and news! Ontario Home Builder is published six times per year (Winter, Early Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Fall, Awards). All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the Publisher © 2021. For address corrections please email info@laureloak.ca or phone: (905) 333-9432. Single copy price is $5.00. Subscription Rates: Canada $12.95 + HST per year, USA $29.95 USD. Order online at http://ohba.ca/subscribe-or-buy-past-issues CANADIAN PUBLICATION MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 42011539 ISSN No. 1182-1345

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One Voice


With elections looming, we must get all stakeholders on board to solve the housing shortage AS MUCH AS WE WOULD like to put the past behind us, as we wade into 2022 we still find ourselves contending with a myriad of challenges, not the least of which is the lingering pandemic. The good news is that you, our members, continue to be diligent, implementing the necessary health and safety measures on jobsites, offices, sales centres and, ultimately, in people’s homes. Coupled with the shortages of building supplies, skilled trades and serviced building sites, you continue to overcome many of these significant challenges and are to be commended for a job well done as you deliver the keys for new homes and complete those important renovations for #Homebelievers across Ontario. While the COVID-19 health crisis arguably remains everyone’s primary ohba.ca


“CANDIDATES WILL CERTAINLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE HOUSING CRISIS, BUT WHAT MEASURES WILL THEY TAKE TO ADDRESS THE SHORTAGE?” concern, there’s another crisis that’s grabbed our attention: the lack of housing supply in virtually every corner of Ontario. The recently released report, Baby Needs a New Home by

Dr. Mike Moffatt, which is available on the OHBA website, concludes: “If Ontario wants to meet the expected population growth and family formations in the coming decade, one million new homes will need to be built in the next 10 years.” While our production capacity and the availability of labour and supplies is stretched to the limit, we are still underproducing housing units to the tune of 30-35% each year. If not corrected, this accumulated and growing shortfall will further erode housing affordability. As with the recent pandemic, bold action is required to address the lack of housing supply. We need housing champions who take action to make the great Canadian dream of homeownership a reality. I am confident our industry and members are up to the challenge, but we need all stakeholders, including federal, provincial and municipal government, to get on board, join the team and become those housing champions. The recent federal election has proven that housing supply, choice and affordability are key concerns for many Canadians, and we can expect the same focus during the pending provincial election campaign this spring, as well as the local municipal elections in the fall. Candidates will certainly acknowledge the housing crisis, but what measures will they take to address the current and looming shortage? OHBA, our 27 locals and our members are here to help. There is no doubt we are all in this together and have the collective responsibility to work as a team to ensure #Homebelievers find a place to call home. I challenge all concerned to take the next bold step forward and become a housing champion! OHB




Ontario Report

Hearing Our Voice

OHBA weighs in on new Queen’s Park legislation OHBA has been very active at Queen’s Park since members of the House returned for the Fall session, addressing a number of pieces of legislation. In December 2020, OHBA joined the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and a number of other key industry associations calling on the government to provide municipal councils with the ability to delegate additional Planning Act approvals to heads of planning departments. In October 2021, Bill 13, Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021, brought in by Minister Nina Tangri, made this happen and it is a measure that is strongly welcomed by the residential construction sector. Municipalities across Ontario have professional planning staff in place who are well situated and knowledgeable to deliver on these measures and free up councils to focus on the significant and major decisions ahead, instead of being overwhelmed

with minor and administrative decisions. OHBA spoke strongly in favour of this legislation. OHBA was also a strong advocate for Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021. This legislation brought forward a number of common-sense measures to help unlock incredible skilled trade career opportunities for workers and make other changes that protect, support and attract workers to Ontario. This legislation will eliminate the Canadian work experience barrier to help internationally trained workers in 23 trades, including electricians, plumbers and hoisting engineers, while ensuring that safety standards and competencies remain high. This legislation will help employers address the skilled trade labour gap we are facing in communities across Ontario, while unlocking countless new in-demand and well-paying career opportunities.

Province Delivers Fall Economic Statement

On Nov. 4, the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, delivered the provincial Fall Economic Statement (FES), which sets out the government’s financial priorities. Entitled Build Ontario: 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, the FES outlines a plan to build the foundation for the province’s recovery and prosperity by getting shovels in the ground to address critical infrastructure, attract increased investment and improve building capacity across numerous economic sectors. “The Fall Economic Statement charts an important direction for economic recovery and prosperity in communities big and small across Ontario,” noted OHBA President Bob Schickedanz. “The home building and professional renovation sectors are poised to build Ontario to ensure that our province remains the very best place to live, work and play.” As part of the FES, the provincial government has indicated its goal to move forward with both the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413. Both represent critical transportation infrastructure that will enhance the movement of people, goods and services necessary to address the real growth pressures of today and imminent and longer-term future needs so that more Ontario families can achieve the dream of homeownership. The province also plans to renew the ohba.ca


Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit. This program supports 25% of renovation costs up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior’s principal residence in Ontario that are completed in 2022. The 2022 extension would provide up to $35 million in support for approximately 32,000 people, or $1,100, on average, up to a maximum benefit of $2,500. These are renovations that help Ontario seniors age safely in place in the comfort in their own homes, help ensure positive health outcomes and are made possible thanks to our professional renovator members who complete these transformative projects. The FES also includes important investments in transportation and infrastructure. It reiterates that the government is committed to transit-oriented communities on priority transit corridors such as the Ontario Line and the Yonge North Subway Extension, while also proposing doubling the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund program with an additional $1 billion over five years. This $2 billion investment will assist with construction in hundreds of small, rural and northern municipalities, and rehabilitate the critical infrastructure needed to support these growing communities. Important investments in Ontario’s workforce are also being proposed to ensure the province has the skilled workers needed

to support economic recovery and to drive productivity. The provincial government is continuing the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit into 2022, which provides up to $2,000 in relief for 50% of eligible training expenses. Furthermore, the province is also investing an additional $90.3 million over three years in its Skilled Trades Strategy, $5 million more for the Second Career program and a second round of Skill Developing Funding. In addition, a critical initiative proposed through the FES includes enhancements to the Brownfields Financial Tax Incentive Program to facilitate the redevelopment of contaminated lands by allowing a reduction of municipal and education property taxes on brownfield sites. The government is proposing to extend the period for matching provincial education tax assistance from three to six years for business developments, and to 10 years for residential developments. Having heard from the industry on the need for red tape reduction, the province is taking steps to streamline administrative processes for the program, particularly the application to review timelines. Finally, OHBA is pleased to see the province deliver on a number of key objectives of the housing supply action plan and we look forward to taking an active role on the Housing Affordability Task Force. ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


Ontario Report

MECP Steps Up to Modernize Environmental Approvals While many agencies have been focusing on the challenges faced by the Ontario housing industry, including the need for increased supply, the provincial Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) has stepped up to the plate to implement positive change. The MECP has been devoting considerable attention to the issues and collaborating with OHBA and other stakeholders to introduce measures that will reduce approval timelines regarding the implementation of various infrastructure projects and matters of significance to the Ministry with respect to land development. These moves are vital to industry

members in the delivery of new homes to meet market demand. At the same time, the integrity of the environmental review process remains intact. The MECP is focused on reducing steps in the process, while also identifying those significant projects that require a comprehensive

ONTARIO HELPING PEOPLE START CAREERS IN HOME BUILDING THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT is investing almost $3 million to give 166 jobseekers free training and work experience in residential construction across the province. The Job-Ready Program, led by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, will connect trainees with rewarding and well-paying careers in carpentry, drywall installation, cement working, framing and heavy equipment operation. This announcement follows the more than $1.5 billion our government has committed over the next four years to get more people into the skilled trades and help solve the housing crisis. “The residential construction industry and its workers build a critical part of our communities—the homes that families across Ontario can call their own,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, 12


Training and Skills Development. “As more of these workers retire, we need talented people to fill their boots. Our government is giving people a hand up to well-paying, meaningful careers so they can build better lives for themselves and more homes for us all.” Program participants will learn about general home building techniques, how to work with power tools and different products in construction, and health and safety on the job. Training will last up to eight months and will be delivered in the classroom and on construction jobsites from experienced tradespeople. Virtual training is also available. The project further supports employers currently looking for new talent by helping them with training and providing incentives to hire program graduates. The province is projected to face a shortfall

environmental assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act. The MECP initiatives to modernize the environmental assessment process and approvals are most welcomed. Keep an eye on the Environmental Registry of Ontario postings for more to come.

of more than 100,000 construction workers over the next several years, many of which are for positions in residential home building. In the second quarter of 2021 alone there were 20,895 vacancies in the construction sector in Ontario. The OHBA is working with home builder associations and community partners across Ontario to identify regions and employers most in need of skilled workers in residential construction to take part in the program. Participating employers can hire job-ready talent at the end of the program and will be reimbursed up to 30% of the employee’s pay to a maximum of $3,000. “With 166 participants in the program and over 40% of those from underrepresented groups, the Job-Ready Program through the provincial Skills Development Fund is helping unlock new opportunities for in-demand and rewarding careers in communities across Ontario,” said OHBA President Bob Schickedanz. Interested jobseekers can contact OHBA COO Sajida Jiwani at sjiwani@ohba.ca and (647) 887-1279. Training is available to anyone residing in Ontario.



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Ontario Report


Local HBA Presidents and Executive Officers List

Baby Needs a New Home In November and December, OHBA completed two successful virtual regional webinars with noted economist Dr. Mike Moffatt on his new population and family formation report, Baby Needs a New Home. Moffatt is the Senior Director of policy and innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute and an assistant professor in the Business, Economics and Public Policy group at Ivey Business School, Western University. In two virtual sessions for our Southwestern and North/East Ontario sectors, OHBA and local HBAs hosted members and local municipal officials to discuss the latest population growth, family formation and housing demands in their communities. Mike’s research showcases the significant dynamics playing out across Ontario, with many families and individuals being priced out of their existing communities and leaving for smaller areas with more affordable housing options. OHBA has made these sessions and the full report available at our website (OHBA. ca) and encourages all members and elected officials to read the report and see the growth demands that their communities will be facing in the years to come. 14



Niagara: PRESIDENT: Richard Lawrence EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Chuck McShane

Brantford: PRESIDENT: Bob Stewart EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Fred DeCator

North Bay: PRESIDENT: Robert Miller EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Louise Lowe

Chatham-Kent: PRESIDENT: Jon Rumble EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Dan Van Moorsel

Peterborough: PRESIDENT: Garnet Northey EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Rebecca Shillemat

Cornwall: PRESIDENT: Alex Markell EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Ryan Lalonde

Quinte: PRESIDENT: Jon Van Huizen EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Ruth Estwick

Durham: PRESIDENT: Tiago Do Couto EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Stacey Hawkins

Sarnia: PRESIDENT: Scott Henderson EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Jennifer Weed

Greater Dufferin: PRESIDENT: Henry Jansen EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Margaret Janssen

Simcoe: PRESIDENT: Sue Cerilli EXECUTIVE OFFICER: S andy Tuckey

Greater Ottawa: PRESIDENT: David Renfroe EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Jason Burggraaf

St Thomas: PRESIDENT: Shane Tarry EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Angela DeVries

Grey-Bruce: PRESIDENT: Bryden Hamilton EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Donna-Lea Tomlin

Stratford: PRESIDENT: Matt Feeney EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Melissa Schenk

Guelph: PRESIDENT: Shant Sarmazian EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Melissa Jonker

Sudbury: PRESIDENT: Derek Cashmore EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Jana Schilkie

Haldimand-Norfolk: PRESIDENT: Len Herrewynen EXECUTIVE OFFICER: TBD

Thunder Bay: PRESIDENT: John Simperl EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Harold Lindstrom

Haliburton: PRESIDENT: Glenn Evans EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Aggie Tose

Waterloo: PRESIDENT: Andrew Head EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Marie Schroeder

Kingston: PRESIDENT: Jacqueline Collier EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Alexandrina


Lanark-Leeds: PRESIDENT: Andy Cockburn EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Julie Brady

Windsor: PRESIDENT: Vince Lapico EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Danielle Spadafora



London: PRESIDENT: Sue Wastell EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Jared Zaifman




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MISSING LYNK? In construction, making a home ‘smart’ can be an afterthought, leading to poor design, substandard connectivity and unhappy customers. In order to build truly integrated homes, prioritizing smart design at the outset is key. By working with customers and builders early in the construction process, Uplynk has created awardwinning homes that are personalized for the homeowner, balancing optimal functionality with aesthetics, including the 2021 winner of the Cedia Pro Home of the Year award. UPLYNK.CA/BUILDERS 18


COLOURS OF LIFE Consumers are seeking more and more upscale appliances, and La Cornue is feeding their appetite. In a return to Heritage-look appliances, the über-luxurious brand has introduced the CornuFé Series, which offers a La Cornue for those who have high culinary standards but do not need the size and customization of the Château Series. CornuFé offers a choice of 12 colourful finishes and three trims, with both powerful gas-burner or ceramic glass induction range-top options. LACORNUEUSA.COM/CORNUFE ON GUARD Radon Guard Insulation is a key component of any radon mitigation system.This code-compliant replacement for code-required granular under-slab material is a two-in-one system that both insulates and protects interior spaces from radon gas for generations. RADONCORP.COM
















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nflation. Rising interest rates. A trades shortage. Housing supply. A looming provincial election. Supplychain delays and subsequent material shortages and cost increases. There’s a barrelful of wrenches that have been tossed into the 2022 economic machine. And then there are the intangibles, such as rising tensions surrounding China and Omicron (or the next COVID-19 variant that comes along). While a miniscule Bank of Canada rate (it was 0.25% as of mid-December) and correspondingly favourable mortgage rates have obviously fuelled the current environment of recordhigh housing prices, momentum is expected to slow, says Bob Dugan, Chief Economist with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). One contributing factor will be the Bank of Canada’s ending of its quantitative-easing program last October. Under the program, the feds purchased loads of government bonds to increase their price, subsequently driving down interest rates and promoting borrowing and spending in the economy. But with its conclusion, rates can be expected to “push up in the long end of the curve,” Dugan says. After a white-hot 2021, Dugan and the CMHC are forecasting a comparatively modest 5% increase in housing pricing this year, with two elements combining to bring about a better balance between supply and demand. “During the pandemic we saw some one-off drivers of demand—things like people leaving large urban centres to live in suburban or rural communities and secondary Canadian metropolitan areas such as Kingston, Barrie and Ottawa, because they no longer have to commute every day. There was also a shift in demand toward lowerdensity housing with more space so they can set up a home office. But as we look ahead, that’s unlikely to continue. “The other thing we think might put the brakes on activity is a rise in mortgage rates going forward—more so than previously anticipated because of inflation issues,” Dugan adds. “But



WILL IT ALL COME TUMBLING DOWN? Price rise expected to slow, but other factors confound the economic experts BY N I C K K R E W E N & T E D M c I N T Y R E ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


now, how does the Omicron variant change the outlook for the economy, and what does that mean for the Bank and inflation? I haven’t quite worked that out yet.” When it comes to supply, Douglas Porter, BMO Financial Group’s Chief Economist and Managing Director, applauds builders for “really responding in a huge way” last year. “I think we’ll find that housing starts for 2021 were (the second-highest) we’ve ever seen,” Porter predicts. “In the past 12 months, they’ve been running at more than 270,000 units. There’s been one time in recorded history where Canada has had higher housing starts over a 12-month period—­1976, when the first wave of baby boomers entered the job market. “The fact is that demand for housing is torrential, whether it’s from investors, immigration, population growth or millennials. Supply is strong; it’s just struggling to keep up with the tidal wave of demand.” CMHC is predicting 81,100 new home starts in Toronto in 2022, outnumbering last year’s total of 77,210. However, housing starts for much of the rest of Ontario are projected to decrease this year, with only Hamilton and Ottawa also looking to top 2021 numbers. The Ontario RE/MAX broker network is forecasting “average price growth” in its 2022 Canadian Housing Market Outlook Report. Numbers in small markets vary widely, though: North Bay (4%), Sudbury (5%), Thunder Bay (10%), Collingwood/ Georgian Bay (10%) and Muskoka (20%).

“Meanwhile, in larger markets, there’s a possibility that more immigration could weigh on supply levels and prices, including Ottawa (5%); Durham (7%); Brampton (8%); Toronto (10%) and Mississauga (14%).”


For builders trying to meet that demand, back-end costs are showing no signs of easing. Apart from supply-chain-fuelled increases for material costs, the trades shortage is only worsening, driving up labour costs and delays. And with intensification, land prices are also marching forward. As for materials, there might never be a return to pre-pandemic prices, says Edward Jegg, Altus Group Analytics Team leader. “Lumber was an extraordinary one and we’ve seen it come back from triple-digit increases down to double-digit. Will it ever go back? When things go up, do they ever truly come all the way back down?” “It’s a fact that lumber is never going back to $400 US (MBF/1,000 board feet) like it was for 10 years up to 2019. And prices are definitely going to go up,” says Kéta Kosman, publisher of Madison’s Lumber Reporter, the bible of lumber industry analysis in Canada. “One of the ways we know that prices will stay up is how far ahead sawmills are on the production they book,” Kosman explains. “Traditionally this is not a time of year when building is strong. Order files are usually a few days out or even ‘prompt,’ when you can call the sawmill in the morning and they’ll put wood into production that day.


Despite temporarily high CPI, it should moderate downward, leaving the Bank of Canada’s commitment to its current Overnight Lending Rate in place until late 2023. The Bank of Canada’s CPI Target Range is 1% to 3% 4.70% 4.10%

Interest Rate

4.0% 3.0%

4.30% 3.80%



CPI Target: 1%–3%

2.0% 1.0%



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Portuguese container ship AS Constantina waited offshore for nearly eight weeks before it could be unloaded last month at the Port of Los Angeles—a not-so-subtle reminder of an almost 30% increase in volume over the previous year despite a new plan from President Biden to keep port operations open 24/7. How did it come to this, with everything from computer chips and door handles to furniture and appliances not just costing more, but taking months to arrive? At the same time the pandemic was bringing factories around the world to a crawl, demand was increasing from housebound families seeking everything from gaming consoles to bicycles to full-on interior renos. But there are fewer employees to manufacture those products, fewer truckers on the road to ship them, and on and on it goes. Even Mother Nature has wreaked havoc, with delays at Vancouver’s port due to recent flooding. Demand has also been exacerbated by those who are now placing larger orders—and earlier—than normal to help avoid future shortages and delays. When will the ‘shortage of everything’ end? Forecasts stretch into 2023. As of the close of 2021, Toni Gravelle, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, wasn’t sure when it would peak, much less end. “If supply disruptions and related cost pressures persist for longer than expected and strong goods demand continues, this would increase the likelihood of inflation remaining above our control range,” Gravelle said. “This could feed into inflation expectations and contribute to wage pressures, leading to a second round of prices increases.” While the Bank of Canada expects consumer spending to shift from goods to services, thereby relieving supplychain pressure, Omicron, or the next variant, might well trigger the reverse. ohba.ca


But now order files are booking into the next month! If I’m a home builder and I have projects planned for the next (few months), I would not wait to buy.” Apart from new housing starts, the market is also being affected by an increase in extreme weather events, Kosman notes. “They’re having to rebuild parts of Kentucky (tornado) and B.C. (flooding). And even if you’re not building with wood, you still need wood for things like concrete forming and scaffolding. When New Orleans was rebuilding in 2005 and was declared an emergency, FEMA bought huge volumes of wood and didn’t care what the price was. In most weather events, like a hurricane, you don’t see an immediate increase in (wood) buying since insurance papers need to go through. But when the government gets involved, it’s a different story.”

RISING RATES While lumber outlets and other suppliers are building higher expenses into product costs, price gouging isn’t occurring, Jegg contends. “If you’re a supplier, you’re just trying to get your stuff out to anybody.” Inflation, however, is a concern. The Consumer Price Index was 4.7% in November, remaining at its 18-year high recorded the previous month. South of the border, the U.S, was recording 6.8%—a 40-year high. Both Dugan and Porter say that it’s inevitable that interest rates will be raised to help nip inflation in the bud. “The landscape has gotten a little muddier with this new (pandemic) variant,” Porter says. “But while financial markets are taking a bit more of a cautious stand, there’s still the overwhelming view that the Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve will be raising rates this year. I think it’s reasonable to look for two to three rate hikes of a quarter-point each. Financial markets think the Bank of Canada will hike rates by more than a full point, but I see that as a bit aggressive.” CMHC’s Dugan reminds that as inflation impacts other goods and services, it “erodes real incomes,” making it problematic for potential homeowners to save and invest in real estate. And the squeeze is about to get tighter for the lower and middle classes, who will most ohba.ca


feel the effects of the anticipated 5%-7% hike in food prices this year, adding almost $1,000 to the annual grocery bill for the average family of four, according to the latest Canada’s Food Price Report. The economy is experiencing a pandemic-driven “supply shock,” explains Dugan. “A year ago, following the start of the pandemic, oil prices and food prices were lower, and we’ve seen increases since,” he notes. “As the economy starts to grow again, these base effects were supposed to have a very temporary impact on inflation. But inflation is proving to be more resilient than originally thought, creating more sustained upward pressure on prices.” Dugan believes the Bank of Canada will target 2% inflation. “Gradually, interest rates will have to come up to get inflation back in line,” he says. “As that unfolds, that can raise some of the financing costs, further adding to the difficulty of people to save for a down payment.” “Between the kind of bidding wars and the price gains we’ve seen, not to

mention the kind of down payment now required, this is one of the more challenging environments that we’ve ever seen for entry-level buyers,” says BMO’s Porter. “The flipside is that jobs are still relatively plentiful. Incomes have been very well supported in the past year and there’s a tremendous amount of wealth out there. Now, whether that wealth is in the hands of first-time buyers is debatable or doubtful.” Dugan is also concerned about the reality of homeownership for many. “We need to find a way to stabilize high prices so that we don’t have further erosion in affordability. Then, over time, incomes can catch up and narrow that gap.” One simple solution is to increase supply,” Dugan offers. “We’ve seen what demand can do to house prices during the pandemic, so we absolutely need a supply response in order to help improve affordability—and on the rental side too. “There’s also a need for strong levels of

“There’s still the overwhelming view that the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates in 2022.” ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


housing starts because as international borders open again, the Canadian government has aggressive targets for immigration,” Dugan says. “If we’re going to try to attract 400,000+ immigrants to Canada after the pandemic, they’re going to require housing.” Ontario alone will require one million new homes in the next 10 years, according to research from Mike Moffatt, Senior Director, Policy and Innovation, at the Smart Prosperity Institute. But additional supply must also be done in a targeted way, Dugan stresses. “We have to build more affordable homes—maybe higher-density homes suitable for young families. A lot of condos (right now) are one-bedroom or bachelor suites that aren’t suitable for families.” If there is good news to be had, it’s that neither Dugan nor Porter expect a recession in the foreseeable future. “And there are some positive developments,” Dugan contends. “The labour market is improving. Canadian households have been saving money. The savings rate going into the pandemic was about 2%, but it was about 11% in the third quarter of 2021! The problem is that those savings aren’t equally distributed across households. The higherincome households are saving money and some of the lower income households that are either renting or are trying to save to buy a house are probably not. “However, those savings do provide some upside for the economy,” Dugan continues. “At some point when we’re able to travel again more readily or when more people feel comfortable going out shopping and to restaurants, there’s an awful lot of savings out there that can stimulate spending and create growth.


“Our own forecast is that economic growth will continue next year at about 5.5% in 2022,” Dugan says, “although that may be a little optimistic.” For its part, RBC’s Provincial Outlook, released in December, “projects economic growth to clock in at 4.4%, unchanged from 2021 (4.4%) and ranking as the fastest rate east of the Prairies.” Nationally, the economy has more than overcome its early pandemic losses, notes Colliers, a leading commercial real estate services and investment management company. In its 2022 Canada Outlook, Colliers cited that the country’s gross domestic product was expected to surpass pre-pandemic output before the end of 2021. And “as for the almost 3 million jobs lost at the beginning of the pandemic, Canada officially recouped these jobs and surpassed the pre-pandemic peak in September of 2021.”

GROWING GAP But the issue of affordability remains. As a point of comparison, in 1985, the average price of a Toronto home was $109,094. As of December it had soared to $1,163,323, a 22% jump from 2020 and a whopping 966% leap from 1985. The median family income in 1985 in the city, meanwhile,

“It’s a fact that lumber is never going back to $400 US. And prices are definitely going to go up.” ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022




RE/MAX’s 2022 outlook from its Ontario broker network expects average price growth as a whole, but with wide swings, depending upon the market.





S e l l e r ’s M a r k e t

S e l l e r ’s M a r k e t

S e l l e r ’s M a r k e t

S e l l e r ’s M a r k e t


$ 1 ,0 5 4 ,9 9 2

$ 5 8 1 ,0 3 7

$ 6 3 3 ,7 0 0

$ 2 7 3 ,3 5 1


$ 1 ,1 6 0 ,4 9 1

$ 6 9 3 ,14 1

$ 6 9 7,0 7 0

$ 3 0 0 ,6 8 6




$1,000,000 $900,000 $800,000 $700,000




$500,000 $400,000 $300,000



$200,000 $100,000 2020



2022 (estimate)

Seller’s market expected to continue in 2022 due to high demand and limited supply. Outmigration in the wake of COVID-19 is likely to continue in 2022, but strong immigration rates should far outweigh this trend. Increasing employment and incomes expected to positively impact consumer confidence.

was $31,965. Today it’s $86,875 according to CMHC. That’s a 172% jump. In other words, the percentage increase in home prices has outpaced income by more than five and a half times. That gap will inch a little wider in 2022, Dugan says. “As we look ahead, even if (home) price growth slows to something like 5-6% in 2022, that’s still faster than the typical income growth will be.” ohba.ca




2022 (estimate)

Low housing supply along with the possibility of rising interest rates may slow activity and price growth in 2022. Sales expected to decline 5% in 2022. Out-of-town buyers from larger, pricier regions are expected to drive demand in 2022, taking advantage of Kingston’s lower price point and investment opportunities.



2022 (estimate)



2022 (estimate)

Seller’s market expected to continue in 2022 due to low inventory and high demand.

Trend of buyers relocating to the region for its relative affordability.

First-time homebuyers are likely to drive market demand in 2022.

Current seller’s market, attributed to low supply and high demand. It is likely to continue in 2022 assuming interest rates remain low.

2021 saw an uptick in outof-town investors attracted to London’s lower prices, especially from larger urban centres such as Toronto. This is expected to continue in 2022.

But demand from beyond our borders will likely pick up the slack. According to a 2021 report on global talent from Boston Consulting Group and The Network, who surveyed 209,000 people in 190 countries, Canada has overtaken the U.S. as the most attractive destination for foreign workers. And as political and social turmoil increases around the globe, the attraction

First-time homebuyers expected to drive demand in 2022, seeking one-storey detached homes and properties in suburban neighbourhoods.

of Canada, with its increasingly attractive freshwater reserves, healthcare and social reputation, only grows. The moving parts of the economy remain and will provide no shortage of challenges, but the Jenga pieces assembled at this stage for the home building industry resemble much less a teetering tower than they do a sturdy brick fortress. OHB ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


Savaria’s Vuelift Round elevator can be an interior focal point.





Getting Around in Style With accessible design making strides, builders’ options are growing BY T R AC Y H A N E S


When Linda Kafka’s mother and others of that generation had to incorporate accessibility products and features into their homes to address aging or disability, their choices were more functional than fashionable. Items such as grab bars, toilet seats, tubs and showers looked like they belonged more in a hospital than a home. Access to one’s own residence was often via bulky outdoor ramps that made it obvious a person with mobility challenges lived there. Kafka, a Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP), Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and founder of LivABLE Canada, an online trade resource, said her mother’s generation didn’t look beyond practicality and functionality; the beauty of the products wasn’t that important to them. That’s dramatically changed with the current generation of consumers. “The new aging consumer is living a longer and healthier life than previous generations, and as influential consumers, they want well-designed spaces that empower them to live in style, no matter their age,” says Kafka. ohba.ca




The vanity at this Jane Lockhart design features lower leg clearance.

“Accessibility features are no longer just for people with physical issues or health conditions. Someone always benefits from them.” 30


This group doesn’t want to be defined by their age or disability, Kafka says. They want their homes to reflect who they are and are rejecting institutionallooking environments and products. “As much as I’d love to say aging-in-place is driving this change, what’s interesting is that it’s really being driven by the whole trend of a healthy home,” Kafka says. Sean MacGinnis and registered nurse Kyla Cullain founded Ottawa construction company BuildABLE in 2013 to address the need for renovations and home builds that provided accessibility. Recently they were tasked with renovating a multi-generational home. The transformation had to accommodate a homeowner with a disability, an aging parent and the rest of the family. How did they achieve the client’s desire for a bathroom that would be functional for all family members, yet have a modern, attractive aesthetic? Cullain and MacGinnis selected high-end fixtures

including a square rain showerhead, an adjustable, hand-held showerhead and control handles that integrated seamlessly, with a square flip-down bamboo shower bench and custom vanity. They contrasted the typically harsh lines of accessibility products with softer, curved lines such as accent rings around the shower controls and towel bar, which also act as grab bars. Elegant slip-resistant base tiles were sourced for the floor and shower walls in large sizes and solid colours, with a distinct contrast between the floor and walls. This can be critical for certain disabilities, chronic illness or aging, where depth perception can be affected, Cullain notes. Busy, colourful tiles can cause extreme fatigue and eye-strain for other types of disabilities, so it’s important to know a client’s unique health needs and how it will impact everyone in the home, she adds. The toilet appears standard, but it’s a ‘right-height’ toilet, as a few inches of extra height is easier on hips and knees ohba.ca



High-end fixtures at this BuildABLE reno include a flip-down bamboo seat and oversized rain showerhead.

Options have exploded, allowing clients to customize lifts such as this Heritage model from Cambridge Elevating, with custom-painted mechanical parts in the hoistway.

(ADA-compliant toilets are 17”-19” versus the standard 15” height). Two flip-down rails were installed beside the toilet to make it easier and safer to transfer on and off the commode; family members that don’t need the support can flip the rail up and out of the way. The angled vanity can be used as a perch seat and can be functional for the use of a wheelchair in future. It has all the beautiful features of a standard vanity with pull-out drawers, solid wood design and matching countertop, as well as a convenient touch-to-light mirror. “No one wants their home to look like a hospital,” says Cullain. “In this case, we were not only able to meet the style goals of this family, but provide the safety and functionality of a barrier-free bathroom.”

EQUAL OPPORTUNIT Y “There is no reason people with disabilities can’t have finishes of the same quality (as people who don’t),” says 32


MacGinnis. “And products like slipresistant tiles in the bathroom or kitchen benefit everyone.” Toddlers, for example, are just as unsteady on their feet as many seniors are. One of the speakers at the LivABLE Design Summit held virtually in late October was Donna Church, Canadian Marketing and Communications Manager for Kohler, who stressed that a much higher number of Canadians want to live in their own homes as long as possible and for longer than they used to. “We as manufacturers are focusing on this,” said Church, who noted how, over the decades, the perception of the home has changed. Today, Covid-19 has resulted in the home becoming a sanctuary, and that trend will continue even after the pandemic, she notes. But whereas personal wellness used to be defined as the absence of sickness, Church says it’s now more of an ecosystem of the home—one of financial,

digital, social, environmental, emotional and physical health. “Accessibility features are no longer just for people with physical issues or health conditions,” Church stresses. “Someone always benefits from them.” Church believes that designers, architects, renovators and builders need to understand their clients deeply to meet their current expectations. For example, some may have health concerns they aren’t comfortable sharing, so reading between the lines is necessary in order to identify the types of products required, including easy-to-clean products; uncluttered spaces; touchless appliances, fixtures and faucets; as well as multipurpose spaces that spark joy and allow for freedom and flexibility. “With a diverse range of disabilities and various special needs that must be accounted for, there is no one right answer when it comes to creating safe and accessible but still fashionable homes,” ohba.ca


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Modern walk-in tubs like Safe Bathing Canada’s Guardian are a welcome departure from sterile hospital settings.

says Ambience Design Group’s Sara Abate Rezvanifar. “Always keep access in mind, and envision the world from the perspective of that person. What is comforting and relaxing, what is overwhelming and overstimulating? Try to install features and accessories that are flexible to meet needs that are different from day to day, such as mood lighting.” While Abate Rezvanifar suggests considering lowering the height of light switches so one can reach them from a seated position in a wheelchair, it’s important for that lighting to be adjustable “to become less stimulating and more calming at times, but still have bright lighting adequate for performing tasks,” she says. “Adding a patterned quilt to a bed or couch can also be a valuable visual stimulus for those who need help self-regulating,” Abate Rezvanifar adds. “Emphasize a few creative accessories such as fun but non-obstructive coffee tables or fuzzy couches that are comforting to the touch. But avoid over-cluttering with excessive furniture that restricts mobility.” Think about convenience in layouts, stresses Jane Lockhart of Toronto’s Jane Lockhart Design. “Accessibility is really about living easily. And yes, it can be beautiful. We do our best to eliminate 34


any floor height differences in transitions when the materials change. This is also true for showers—we’re doing a lot more curbless showers in beautiful, yet practical finishes. We’re designing more floating vanities with clearance underneath and undermount lighting. “Drawers are replacing lower cabinetry in the kitchen and upper (storage) altogether,” Lockhart notes.

NEED A LIF T? On the appliance side, GE makes a range of ADA-compliant products, while touchless faucets from multiple manufacturers now offer rich-looking matte, semi-gloss or gloss finishes. Kafka has also noted more creative use by designers of bathroom features like grab bars, such as parallel grab bars on the shower wall. Invisia, meanwhile, is a brand of HealthCraft Group, a fall-prevention company, and their products such as towel bars, soap trays, toilet paper holders, grab bars, and shower and bathtub seating “have really, really nice finishes in metals and cool colours,” adds MacGinnis. Elevators are becoming increasingly prevalent in the residential marketplace. Jamie Hamilton of Cambridge Elevators said when his father got into the business nearly 20 years ago, the bulk of the

business was for people in wheelchairs. While Cambridge still provides solutions for people who truly need them, Hamilton says now about 90% of the projects his company does, especially in the GTA, are for people who want convenience in their lives. Hamilton has found his own home elevator useful to transport luggage, central vac hoses or a coffee station between floors. “Elevators used to be in stark, hospitaltype finishes, but now they are decked out to fit with the design of the home,” he says. “Our elevators are mostly concealed behind a standard swing door, although we do have commercial doors. If it’s done properly, it’s not an appendage.” Manufacturers that supply the industry are stepping up with more and more design features and finishes, with woodgrain ceilings, walls or floors, Hamilton notes. Clients can also be provided with a blank canvas to finish to their own tastes with paint, trim and millwork. “We are seeing more modern finishes lately than in the past decade,” he adds. “My own elevator is MDF (medium-density fibreboard), painted white with an accent strip of walnut veneer. People can add a personal touch. I had a client who was into cars, so we used a veneer that looked like carbon fibre.” ohba.ca



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In larger projects, some homeowners are making their elevators centrepieces, opting for glass cabs and LED lighting strips. Clients have requested stainless steel interiors and built-in storage for bottles and glassware, while another wanted a bar fridge and storage, so that the bar would be available at any floor. At the LivABLE Design Summit, Sara Walsh-Rooney of global elevator and lift manufacturer Savaria said lifts and/ or elevators can make every area of the home accessible without forsaking style. For example, outdoor deck lifts can be open or enclosed, with stainless steel frames with glass inserts and a choice of paint colours for the tower. Residential elevators that can serve up to six stops offer a large range of finishes or can be customized. They can be tucked discreetly into a corner or hallway or become a design feature, such as a panoramic elevator with integrated hoistway that can run through an existing circular staircase, centred in a room or attached to a balcony or mezzanine to make a design statement. They come in round or octagonal shapes in glass or acrylic with custom colours—and the colours can change from floor to floor! Jenna Kressler and Mike Linka of TA Appliances say suppliers are offering a lot more ADA-compliant appliances such 36


as dishwashers, under-counter refrigerators and freezers, and wall ovens and cooktops that can accommodate wheelchair users. They work with developers, builders and homeowners, including recently with non-profit organization MennoHomes on an affordable housing project that will have 15 to 20 accessible units in a 54-unit development. Most of the residents of accessible units have disabilities that are not physical in nature. Technology makes it easier for them to operate appliances, as well as those with physical challenges who may have trouble turning knobs or dials, but are able to use a touchscreen. “Some vendors have more smart technology than others,” says Kressler. “You can get ranges, hood ventilation, laundry appliances. You can turn on or pre-set the appliances from an app on your phone that you download. It’s really helping those with disabilities, but I don’t think anyone is marketing to that segment.” Kafka says touchless products are advancing too, including kitchen faucets that can be told how full to fill a water glass. Overall, housing design is paying more attention to the different needs of each member of a family, rather than a one-size-fits all approach, Kafka says. “Covid has taught us we all have to function in that space.”

Pullout kitchen drawers provide a convenient and stylish option.

While open-concept layouts have been popular, they don’t work for everyone, she notes. “More walls are going up, as not everyone wants to have to go to the bedroom for privacy—be it to work, have a Zoom call or virtual medical appointment. People may also need walls to guide them if they have poor vision or to hold on to if they have balance issues.” Outdoors, the unattractive ramps of the past leading to front doors have become subtle and attractively integrated into landscaping, such as with curving, sloping paths of stone or concrete, or built into a porch design and hidden behind railings. Elevators with a stop in the garage, meanwhile, can eliminate the need for a front ramp at all. There are rapid advances being made, particularly in Europe and Japan, in development of new home products and improvements on existing ones, Kafka shares. In the not-too-distant future, for example, a toilet may be able to assess homeowners’ urine for medical issues. These products are going to make it even easier for people to not be defined by age or disability. And they will further blur the lines between accessibility features and the home as a sanctuary of wellness and personal design—while doing so in style. OHB ohba.ca



This kitchen from MennoHomes in Waterloo offers an easy-to-operate oven and plenty of undercounter clearance for wheelchair users.

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COVID-19, millennial influence driving kitchen & bath trends BY T E D M c I N T Y R E

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), a leader in providing tools, research, certification and events for its 50,000 members and kitchen and bath professionals around the world, has released its annual Design Trends report. The 2022 study, a deep dive into all aspects of both kitchen and bathroom design, forecasts the styles, features, materials and innovations expected to be most popular over the next few years. The current study finds that the pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in and adoption of key trends in their homes, such as integration of smart technology, multi-functional spaces, and natural and nature-based designs. “We’ve seen the pandemic have an effect across all sectors in our society and we’re now starting to see how the ohba.ca


change in human behaviours is shifting the way we design our homes,” said NKBA Chief Executive Officer Bill Darcy. “Consumers are more eager to embrace new technologies and innovative ways to provide multi-functional options to maximize their space to fit any occasion, and are opting for surfaces and designs that make it easier to clean, as well as address health and wellness.” As expected, smart technology remains white hot. That includes hands-free and voice-activated technology to reduce the spread of diseases. In fact, devices offering touchless technology have become the breakout stars within the kitchen and bath space, the report suggests. That said, the market remains largely untapped, as only 30% of 2021 kitchen projects and 21% of bathroom

designs included some type of integrated appliances. In addition to smart technology, 58% of designers predict spaces that serve multiple functions will become increasingly popular in 2022 and beyond. New millennial homeowners are looking to maximize their kitchen space with islands that serve as a mealprepping area, a work station and a dining table, as well as a place to entertain guests. Furthermore, younger consumers are looking to include laundry facilities inside their bathrooms to free up space elsewhere. With work from home and flexible workdays gaining traction, the ability to customize the home space for specific needs will only continue to grow in importance. In that same vein, millennials are leading the increase in natural and ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


contemporary designs. Moving away from white and grey as primary colours, designers expect nature-inspired colours to flourish, notably greens and blues. For fixtures, the trend is toward more matte and brushed finishes in black, stainless, nickel and pewter. Additionally, designers see increased natural light with large high-performance windows and doors for outdoor access becoming even more prominent, as homeowners continue to create outdoor living, dining and cooking areas. “Besides the pandemic, another rising factor in the design trends we are seeing for 2022 and beyond is the growth of the millennial and Gen-X customer base, as these homeowners are now reaching the point in their lives where they are increasingly working with designers to create their ideal homes, as opposed to attempting to do it themselves,” continues Darcy. Although boomers continue to be a large part of designers’ customer base, a younger audience is increasingly driving trends. Gen-X remains the biggest age group, with 49% of the design projects customized for them, but designers note a 6% increase in work on behalf of millennials. This has resulted in a shift in how designers do business, as millennials are more apt to conduct meetings virtually, 10% more likely to do the entire project virtually.

Guelph-based Terra View Homes, founded in April 1991, has committed to help fund 30 area non-profit and charitable organizations as part of its 30th anniversary initiatives. Ranging from Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, to the Foundation of Guelph General Hospital, to the Grand River Conservation Authority, Terra View is marking the special occasion by addressing needs within its own region. “Giving back and contributing to the development of our communities is the cornerstone of what Terra View was founded on,” says Andrew Lambden, founder and CEO of Terra View Homes (pictured). As a part of the initiative, each Terra View employee was invited to direct funds from the campaign to a registered charity or qualified beneficiary of their choice. To make up the remainder of its 30 donations, the company made an additional selection of nonprofits and charities in alignment with its corporate social responsibility agenda to create positive impact. AWA R D S




A big birthday for an Ontario home builder has meant a lot of presents for local organizations. 40


After another year of growth and innovation, leaders in the Ontario building industry celebrated their collective achievements in the realm of energy-efficient construction and sustainability at the EnerQuality Awards Nov. 30. The event honoured the industry’s accomplishments from 2020,

including reaching a total of over 100,000 Energy Star-certified homes—meaning they were built more than 15% better than the building code. In building energy-efficient homes to established certifications, including Energy Star, EnerGuide and Net Zero, EnerQuality’s community of builders has helped Ontario homeowners save $258 million in lifetime energy costs, reduce over 1 megaton of C02e (carbon dioxide equivalent) and shrink greenhouse gas emissions and their overall environmental footprint. The 2020 EQ Leader of the Year was awarded to Susan Cudahy. This award recognizes an individual or company for their commitment, advocacy and leadership in driving the growth of energy-efficient housing in Ontario in 2020. Susan leads the Residential New Construction team at Enbridge, where she is the Supervisor of Strategic Builder Relations. In 2020, Susan and her team enabled nearly 1,500 learners to take training programs to help their organizations build more energy-efficient buildings. Tamarack Developments Corp was the recipient of the Impact Award, given to a builder that has made significant long-term voluntary progress in reducing carbon emissions and who showed outstanding achievements through energy efficiency and sustainable practices. The event also recognized the OHBA and EnerQuality’s team on the 100th job placement in the OBHA Job Ready Program, which matches eager jobseekers from underrepresented groups with starter jobs in the construction industry. “Ontario builders are committed to building better. Hiring jobseekers with transferable skills who are eager to learn on the job is also part of building better,” says Monica Curtis, EnerQuality President and CEO. “By building more efficient homes and hiring a more representative workforce, the province’s construction industry is meeting the twin challenges of environmental sustainability and diversity and inclusion.” ohba.ca




Dream Unlimited Corp., Dream Office REIT and Dream Impact Trust, collectively referred to as “Dream,” have unveiled an ambitious social procurement strategy that could serve as a new model for diversity and equity in the real estate sectors and beyond. Recognizing the industry’s responsibility to address society’s most urgent issues, from climate change to social equity, Dream is taking measures to support a philosophy that a diverse supply chain is a critical part of the solution. The company’s approach is both holistic and robust, tackling multiple areas of the supply chain. The plan sets out a comprehensive list of targets that includes providing enhanced access for equity-seeking groups, as well as local, independent and/or socially responsible businesses to tender opportunities for Dream’s projects. There is also a focus on workforce development, creating jobs and training opportunities for equity-seeking groups, while also ensuring economic benefits are generated for Indigenous communities. Dream is among the first in Canada’s private sector to set quantifiable targets to meet these goals by 2025, with progress reports beginning in 2022. Targets include: 20% of the annual value of all contracts to be awarded to local, independent and/or socially responsible businesses; 20% of the annual value of all contracts to ohba.ca


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be awarded to businesses that are majority-owned or managed by an equity-seeking group; 20% of annual jobs created through capital and operating spending to be filled by equityseeking groups; and 30% of apprentice hours worked on development projects to be logged by equity-seeking groups The Social Procurement Strategy will be implemented across the entire lifecycle of Dream’s projects, from planning and design, sales and leasing and construction to property management. In addition, Dream will also create the first private sector open-source database of equity-seeking suppliers and local, independent and/or socially responsible businesses. Set to be published early next year, the database will become a resource for other likeminded real estate companies looking to create greater social equity within their communities.







Mattamy Homes has been named as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures for 2021. The honour, overseen by Waterstone Human Capital, recognizes organizations for having and fostering best-inclass cultures that drive performance and are the benchmark for success. This is the second time that Mattamy has been named to the list, having previously been recognized in 2017. “We’ve always known that we have a special and unique culture that’s provided a competitive advantage,” says Brad Carr, CEO of Mattamy Homes Canada. “It is this very culture that has enabled our success through what has certainly been a challenging period in our history. We are all very proud of this accomplishment!” 42




In its 18th year, the awards program evaluates companies based upon a variety of parameters, including vision and leadership, recruitment and hiring for fit, cultural alignment and measurement, retention, rewards and recognition, organizational performance and corporate social responsibility. Winners are selected by a panel of top executive judges from past winning organizations. ACQ U I S I T I O N S

CANADA BRICK, ARRISCRAFT NOW UNDER SAME UMBRELLA As a part of General Shale’s acquisition of Meridian Brick, the Canadian arm of Meridian has returned to its roots, rebranding back to Canada Brick, which was founded in 1954. With manufacturing facilities in Burlington and Aldershot, Canada Brick joins Cambridge-based Arriscraft as part of General Shale’s Canadian operations. Based in Cambridge, Arriscraft is the stone products group of General Shale, North America’s largest brick producer and leader in building material solutions, with 28 production facilities in 17 states and provinces, and more than 200 affiliated distributors. General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, an international provider of building material and infrastructure solutions.



Next Generation Award 2021

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

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Oshawa Chamber

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Kitchen Design

More Options Designed For Your Kitchen Needs Liebherr introduces new combination options that elegantly integrate into any kitchen. The Monolith product lineup, featuring column refrigeration, freezing and wine products. The new Monolith Bottom Freezer Refrigerator in 30” and 36” will be available fully integrated, with panel-ready and stainless-steel door options to customize to your liking and is designed to enhance luxury and performance without compromising valuable space in your kitchen.

Italian Design and Technology Given an American Twist SMEG proudly presents the newest addition to its robust product catalogue, a new Professional range series, “SPR,” featuring a distinctive design. With an elegant and contemporary design, the new SPR range interprets the newest cooking trends with a minimalist style that adapts perfectly to all spaces, and ensures a perfect slot-in installation.

Inspirational Kitchen Designs

OHBA members are accustomed to giving back to their communities, and that was again in evidence last month. Niagara HBA has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of North & West Niagara for more than a decade to raise donations for the youth to whom they provide support services on a daily basis. This year saw a record ohba.ca


When it comes to your home, every room should be built to suit your needs, lifestyle, tastes and personality. The kitchen is usually one of the busiest rooms in the home and its design should make it easy for you to use on a daily basis. The Galley offers you the ability to create your very own WorkStation or WashStation, Apron Front, custom lengths, integrated Galleys with stainless steel WorkTops, ADA, you name it, the Galley can do it! For those looking to reinvent your kitchen layout, then this set is of inspirational kitchen designs are the perfect match for you! Euro-Line Appliances has introduced the Galley, the ultimate, multi-purpose kitchen Workstation for homeowners with refined taste and is a sleek and practical addition to any kitchen.

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number of donations from members, which included new, unwrapped gifts for youths aged 6-16. Over 100 toys, books, games and gift cards were delivered to the BBBS St. Catharines office, where staff members met the donations with open arms. “We are honoured to continue to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters year after year through the generosity of our member companies,” said NHBA President David Samis. “This agency is a staple of our community and we applaud their positive contributions throughout the Niagara Region.” In Etobicoke, as part of its dedication to building healthy communities, Minto Communities GTA unloaded a delivery truck full of 600 donated turkeys and chickens last month at Daily Bread Food Bank’s New Toronto Street location in Etobicoke to help out community members facing food insecurity during the holidays. The donation was valued at $11,000.










SWITZER TAKES ON LARGER ROLE AT DOUG TARRY LTD. Doug Tarry Ltd. has elevated the role of Scott Switzer within the company. Switzer, who joined last February as Director of Finance, has been named Chief Financial Officer and has accepted a seat on DTL’s Board of Directors. His duties have evolved to include a leadership role within The Carbon Reduction Company (a division of DTL), Abode Home Comfort (which includes DTL’s HVAC and Aero Barrier subsidiaries); LC Manufacturing (its panelization joint venture); and its purchasing group, Abode Purchasing Solutions. OHB 4 4






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HVAC industry addressing mounting challenges as 2030 targets loom BY TED McINTYRE

IN EARLY NOVEMBER, StormontDundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, in partnership with Enbridge and Ontario Minister of Energy Todd Smith, announced that the residents of the Glendale subdivision of South Glengarry, near Cornwall, will have access to natural gas for their home heating needs within four years. Funded through the Natural Gas Expansion Program (created under the Access to Natural Gas Act, 2018), the ohba.ca


project will see $2,352,112 allocated by the Province to expand natural gas service to approximately 77 homes and businesses in the community. “Affordable home heating is on the way,” announced Minister Smith. At the same time, the federal government was signing on to the Global Methane Pledge, which aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Natural gas is mostly methane, which has “more than 80 times the warming power of carbon

dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere,” according to the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. And therein lies the dilemma: weaning off natural gas when it’s an inexpensive means of heating many Ontario homes—particularly at a time when the provincial government is coming up short in supporting energy-efficiency assistance programs. In its annual Canadian Provincial Energy Efficiency Scorecard, released in ONTARIO HOME BUILDER WINTER 2022


November, Carleton University-based research organization Efficiency Canada again ranked Ontario fourth among Canadian provinces and territories, noting that it has slid behind in several metrics. “We are now seeing the impact of reductions in energy efficiency ambition and programming resulting from the ministerial directives that replaced the previous Conservation First Framework. Total program spending per capita for all fuels is now roughly half what it was two years ago. “In 2017, Ontario led the country in electricity savings,” the report continues. “This scaling back of ambition on electricity and natural gas efficiency programs is perplexing, as a recent 2019 integrated efficiency potential study identified significant cost-effective savings potential for both fuels, across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.” The dead of winter is a sobering time to consider the numbers. According to Natural Resources Canada, “space heating accounts for more than 60% of the energy consumption in the average Canadian home.” It’s also “the single biggest energy end-use in Canada and the country’s second-largest contributor to GHG emissions. “Hybrid heating reduces energy consumption and GHG emissions by relying on the heat pump at moderate outdoor temperatures and during offpeak times, when it is cheaper to heat with the heat pump,” NRCan adds. “Then the system switches to a natural gas furnace in cold temperatures and at peak times.”


Mike Martino is among those stressing the need for such a bridge between the current reliance on gas and the eventual zero-carbon goal for new homes in 2030 and existing homes in 2050. “I’m not really seeing all-electric taking over yet—not in Ontario. The way to go is hybrid systems—high-efficiency gas furnaces with heat pumps,” suggests Martino, who founded Vaughan-based Martino HVAC in 1987. Martino knows what his customers want and what they need better than most—from builders and contractors 48


Low-profile and quiet, with multiple installation options, Napoleon’s NS18 heat pump and air handler is an all-in-one heating and cooling system. It’s able to heat a home in temperatures as low as -30C and cool it in temperatures as hot as 54C, the widest operating range in the category, the company assures.

to consumers. His Google Review rating of 4.8 of out 5 is an inordinately high number for a company with more than 350 reviews in the HVAC field. “Carbon tax is only going to increase as we move along, so folks may as well do it right and do it now,” Martino says. “You’ll use less gas and get higher efficiency on heating, but also get the return on the carbon tax savings.” Martino is particularly high on the Daikin Fit heat pump (pictured on the previous page). “The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of up to 18 is very high. It works with lower temperatures into early winter. It’s very quiet and very efficient, with a streamlined design.” The Daikin Fit system is aptly named—designed to fit from a physical sense as well as from a comfort and heating efficiency standpoint. Featuring a side discharge, this smart HVAC system doesn’t compromise on comfort, while connecting to ducted solutions

traditional to the unitary market (combining heating, cooling and fan sections in one package). In a market saturated with expensive high-tiered inverters, it provides a premium midefficiency unit at an affordable rate. Ideal for zero-lot-line homes, roofs, walls, terrace areas and multi-storey locations that would typically require a crane, the sleek, lightweight, lowprofile outdoor unit offers solutions that a traditional cube style cannot. Its inverter (variable-speed) compressor reduces energy consumption by up to 30% or more, compared to traditional fixed-speed systems, making slight adjustments to the compressor’s speed depending on weather conditions. That means it reaches the desired temperature faster and maintains a more constant temperature compared to traditional on/off systems that frequently start and stop. Other features include Daikin’s Blue Fin Coat for a long condenser coil life ohba.ca


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and reliability, and ease of service and maintenance, thanks to its quick-toaccess side panel.


Napoleon is also standing out with the NS18 heat pump and air handler. This new series is an all-in-one heating and cooling system for year-round comfort—100% heat in the winter and 100% cool in the summer. “It is a versatile and efficient system that will require less maintenance while delivering the ultimate in-home comfort, no matter the weather outside,” says Christian Romeroll, HVAC, Managing Director of Napoleon. The heat pump has newer, more efficient technology that features a variable inverter compressor and vapour injection technology to heat a home in temperatures as low as -30°C and cool it on sweltering days as hot as 54°C—the widest operating range in the category, Napoleon assures. It also operates on electricity, helping homeowners reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs without sacrificing comfort. Low-profile and quiet with multiple installation options, the NS18 blends into the background. It features a multi-speed Constant Torque ECM blower motor and a fully insulated cabinet design with an integrated filter rack to facilitate tool-less door access. And it requires zero clearance, whether it’s mounted vertically or horizontally, enabling it to be installed easily in closets or alcoves. The NS18 Series is also compatible with any standard heat pump thermostats, smart thermostats or smart home systems working on 24V.


When it comes to moving that air around, Venmar Ventilation is addressing the trades shortage with its time-saving innovations. “They’re missing 1 million contractors in the U.S. and 100,000 in Canada, so anything we can do to help the cause is important,” says Patrick Beloin, Director of Product Marketing at Venmar Ventilation. Venmar’s new Flex DC series of 50


Switching Over HVAC operators need to embrace the challenge

There’s a long way to go before the deadlines for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions arrive, but some Ontario’s HVAC contractors and manufacturers are going to need help transitioning. “There is skepticism within our membership about the challenges of reducing carbon and replacing natural gas with all-electrified forms of heating,” concedes Martin Luymes, V.P., Government and Stakeholder Relations with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). “By 2030 we won’t be putting gas appliances in new homes anymore. I’ve talked to a few contractors who are well on their way to making the necessary changes, but many have a hard time accepting that reality.” Affordability is a factor for consumers, Luymes notes. “There are airsource heat pumps that work remarkably well, even in very cold Canadian temperatures, but they’re quite expensive to purchase up front, relative to gas furnaces. Grant programs like Canada’s Greener Homes will help move customers, but unless they’re presented with the longer view on fuel cost trends and carbon-pricing impacts, they can be hard for our members to sell, even with incentives attached. Some members are asking, ‘Why can’t we also offer hybrid heating systems, hooking up a heat pump to an existing natural gas furnace that will extend the life of that gas furnace—something we can implement in the short term at a more attractive price point, while still reducing consumers’ energy bills and carbon footprint?’ It a conversation we’re now having with the government. “With the growing number of retiring tradespersons, there is a double whammy for contractors, though,” says Luymes. But HRAI is working on a workforce development plan to help with the transition. When it comes to converting existing homes to low-carbon options, there’s another bottleneck, Luymes explains. “There currently aren’t enough energy evaluators to deliver on the promise of the Greener Homes program, let alone what might come in the future. Like some other programs, Greener Homes requires pre- and post-home energy evaluations to be done to qualify for grants. The number of evaluators licensed to do this is growing, but it will take time to satisfy demand.” As these programs go forward, “we also need businesses that can deliver comprehensive energy solutions for homes—dealing with not just the mechanical systems, but the whole building envelope,” Luymes stresses. “It can be difficult for a homeowner to undertake a home reno project after an evaluator says you need to add insulation, weatherstripping and new windows, and that you need to replace your furnace with a heat pump. It may be the right advice, but the customer might have a limited budget and no ability to manage such a complex project. With multiple options presented, they might just pick one—or none—of the options and get a less-than-ideal result. This means that in addition to evaluators who can identify the best options for improving home energy performance, consumers will need companies that can manage and deliver the comprehensive solutions needed under one package price, ideally with long-term financing options to help manage the costs. This is also something HRAI is working on with our members.”



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exhaust fans “can be installed in the room—you don’t need to go into the attic to change it. That’s a gamechanger, saving a lot of time for contractors,” explains Beloin, whose company has also introduced SurfaceShield to the Canadian market, which kills mould and bacteria on its exhaust fans. The ceiling-mounted Energy Starcertified Broan AE50-110DC Flex DC Series 80 CFM Exhaust Bath Fan— yes, it’s a mouthful—features foldable mounting ears and the company’s EZ Duct connector for easy installation. New duct damper technology provides a tighter seal, resulting in reduced warm and cold air backdrafts. It’s also very quiet and energy efficient, while operating at a selectable CFM (cubic feet per minute) range of 50-80-110. Venmar is also reducing installation and repair time with its new AI Series of air exchangers. “They’re 15-20 minute installs, meaning an extra install a day, and less training for companies having to hire on the fly,” Beloin notes. “It’s as easy to set up as an alarm clock. This takes away one of the most challenging steps of installing an HRV/ERV—the balancing portion, which is required to be code-compliant. The system has been trained to balance itself. You set it on an LCD screen. Input the CFM that you want, the numbers of air exchanges per hour, and you’re done. You don’t need to use that magnehelic differential pressure gauge tool, which can be a painful process, and move the damper to get the perfect adjustment. “It’s also a gamechanger for inspectors, who needed to go through the same steps. Now they can just look at the screen!” Simpler installation results in greater consistency in the installer’s work, Beloin points out. Auto balancing sets a reliable initial configuration in all dwelling types, and self-adjustment ensures the unit operates at optimal performance levels throughout its lifetime, meaning fewer call-backs. “Another great thing about having that platform is that we’re able to provide products just for Ontario or California or Quebec, which all have different codes and legislation.” OHB 52


Easy and quick to install, Broan’s NuTone SurfaceShield exhaust fan features antimicrobial virus-killing light, as well as an everyday white light perfect for task lighting. Its powerful ventilation, meanwhile, offers effective protection against bacteria, mould and fungi growth.

Designed with contractors in mind, Venmar’s AVS N Series air exchanger features Venmar’s Virtuo Technology, which saves up to 20 minutes on installations, promising “the fastest installation in its class.”



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Frame of Mind


Taking a community approach to sustainable energy Just as net zero describes energyefficient dwellings that produce at least as much energy as they use, so too does the term apply to the net-zero energy (NZE) neighbourhood. It’s simply on a larger scale, where all of a community’s dwellings rely on combined heat and power systems from one centralized source known as district heating. NZE is a more feasible goal at the community level than it is for an individual dwelling. Although solar heating is easier to set up in a rural or suburban home, the auto usage and attendant infrastructure in such settings can counteract the project’s sustainable impact. All things considered, urban neighbourhoods are able to most efficiently support alternative and combined power sources, in part because the maintenance needed to support sustainable energy in many homes is limited to one plant. Many strategies used in designing net-zero dwellings are transferable to the planning of an NZE neighbourhood. While local wind patterns, sun orientation, topography, ground depth of winter frost, and shadows from other buildings and trees all play a part, many of these factors are more easily managed when designing at the community scale. For example, on a district scale, one can more readily 54


anticipate and change the topography and orientation of a street layout to take advantage of the winter sun and limit the summer heat. zHome in Issaquah Highlands, Washington State, became the first American net-zero, carbon-neutral development when it opened in 2011. Designed by David Vandervort Architects, every aspect of the community, including the building process, was designed to minimize energy consumption and carbon emissions. Its most noticeable feature is a series of roof-mounted photovoltaic panels. These add considerably to the aesthetic quality of the 10 townhomes, with the roofing size calculated to house the exact number of photovoltaic panels needed for NZE consumption. The 10 units are tied into the local electric grid. In summer, the panels produce more energy than zHome residents require, with the excess fed into the local grid to be used by the wider community. In the winter, the panels produce less energy than is needed, and so the grid assists in supplying energy. This relationship benefits both parties and allows zHome to have NZE usage without the need for extensive facilities to store excess energy. High-quality insulation procedures reduce heating and air-conditioning

costs. Featuring extremely high-quality panes, windows are tightly sealed. Fresh air is pumped into the house via heat-recovery ventilation. On top of all this, heating and AC employ a groundsource heat pump system. While some of the high-tech features, necessary to ensure sustainability, might detract from the community feel of the development, several features were installed to encourage neighbourly interaction, including a central courtyard, around which the units are laid out. Ontario developers are following suit. Land Ark Construction’s walkable Watercolour Westport community, Canada’s first NZE-ready neighbourhood, broke ground in Brockville in August. Near Ottawa, Zibi, a 34-acre, carbon-neutral development, will harness a district energy system to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from building heating and cooling operations by leveraging locally generated hydroelectricity. And in London, Sifton Properties’ West 5 development is a 70-acre multi-use community that will serve as a demonstration site for the new community net metering. OHB AVI FRIEDMAN IS AN ARCHITECT, PROFESSOR, AUTHOR AND SOCIAL OBSERVER. AVI.FRIEDMAN@MCGILL.CA



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Water Treatment Solutions for Every Home Water treatment systems from Enercare ensure the water in your homes looks, smells and tastes great, whether it’s coming from a municipal system or a private well. Our solutions include: reverse osmosis systems, whole-home water filters and water softening filtration systems. *Available to Enercare’s Heating/Cooling protection plan customers, rental water heater customers and/or rental HVAC customers whose equipment is not operational (for example – no heat, no cooling or no hot water). On average, Enercare attends to furnace/boiler, central air conditioner, or water heater non-operational calls 90% of the time the same day. Subject to exclusions in accordance with the terms and conditions of the applicable protection plan or rental agreement. ®Enercre and the design are trademarks of Enercare Inc., used under license.