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MARCH/APRIL 2021

Benjamin Tal speaks at CFAA Virtual Conference 2021 By John Dickie, CFAA President

CFAA Virtual Rental Housing Conference 2021 will lead off with Benjamin Tal’s Economic Update on April 22 at 3 pm EDT. If you miss the live presentation, you can register to watch a replay! Benjamin Tal is a well-known and entertaining housing economist, who gives insightful predictions about the future path of the economy and rental housing, such as: •  Where we are in the economic recovery •  The economic cost of vaccination delay •  What he expects for the second half for 2021 •  Whether taxes will go up

Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets

•  How real is the risk of inflation •  What to expect in immigration •  What it all means for Canada’s rental housing markets

Networking will be available for 30 minutes before the presentation, and for an hour after it ends at 4 pm EDT. Talk to Benjamin in a small group setting between 4:00 and 4:30 pm on April 22.

More on CFAA Virtual Rental Housing Conference 2021 CFAA Virtual Rental Housing Conference 2021 is designed to provide an attendee experience to rival CFAA’s in-person conferences. The live human interaction cannot be completely replaced, but the Virtual Conference includes many improvements that should make up for the lack of handshakes. See the next page for details. On various dates in May and June, rental housing providers will be able to watch the CFAA Awards presentation, learn about the latest and greatest products and services from CFAA’s supplier members at CFAA’s Virtual Tradeshow, connect with colleagues, and attend informative education sessions, including panels on: •  Rental Operations moving into the economic recovery •  Technology to support Property Management: front-line and back office •  Utility metering and reporting for ESG •  Diversity, inclusion and equity for rental housing providers Conference pricing ranges from $30 to $160, plus HST. Visit www.CFAA-FCAPI.org for details and registration.

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NATIONAL OUTLOOK CFAA Awards, Networking and Tradeshow In partnership with Gryd, a virtual technology company, CFAA is putting on a virtual tradeshow this year, on May 4, 5 and 6, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm EDT. Each day, the Tradeshow will open with a different portion of the CFAA Awards presentation. At the virtual booths, you might see an exhibitor’s “elevator pitch”, demonstrations of new products and services, testimonials or other videos, text or images. (See a sample booth on CFAA’s website.) After viewing each booth, you can talk in real time with the supplier’s representatives, just like at an in-person tradeshow, except that the conversation will be in Remo. The Tradeshow is free for rental housing providers, but you have to register.

Networking using a proven approach To provide a top-quality virtual networking experience, CFAA will use the Remo platform which includes a “table set up” for attendees. As an attendee, you will be able to move freely between tables of two, four, or six people, to interact with exhibitors and CFAA members from across Canada, catch up with colleagues and friends, and meet new colleagues.

Remo Testimonials At the beginning of March, the Eastern Ontario Landlord Organization hosted its own virtual Networking and Education Events using Remo, and received the following feedback: Rana Khan, Assistant VP, Ottawa Operations, Homestead: “Like many others, I’m not good with new technology and sometimes find it intimidating. Thankfully, Remo was very user-friendly and easy to navigate. I enjoyed today’s two 30-minute networking sessions very much.” Colin Ross, VP of Building Restoration, Bassi Construction: “Remo is intuitive. It worked very well. Remo provided the best networking I’ve done since the pandemic began.” CFAA has prepared a 4-minute Remo instructional video and will schedule short practice sessions before Benjamin Tal’s talk, and before the Tradeshow. The CFAA support team will also provide other technical support before and during the CFAA events.

At CFAA Virtual Rental Housing Conference, you will enjoy your best ever virtual networking experience! And it will be almost as good as a face-to face networking event.

Register now! CFAA is looking forward to helping rental housing providers connect, learn, and explore new and better products and services in these difficult times. Register now at CFAA Virtual Conference 2021, at www.CFAA-FCAPI.org.

CFAA THANKS THE CFAA-VRHC SPONSORS Principal Presentation Partner

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors Principal Tradeshow Partner

Silver Sponsors

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MARCH/APRIL 2021

CFAA acts on equity and inclusion in the rental housing industry By John Dickie, CFAA President

In a time when racial injustice is under a spotlight, it is crucial for the rental housing industry to address the rental experience of all racialized and marginalized members of the community through the lens of equity. CFAA and all CFAA-member associations have long stood for compliance with the human rights laws by all rental housing providers, and for good income support for low-income members of our communities, so that they can afford to obtain the housing that they need. Those commitments are morally right and worthwhile, and they continue to support diversity in our society so that we can become more equitable and inclusive. But now, people across society are being called to do more than simply comply with the human rights laws. People and companies are being called on to contribute actively toward embracing diversity, and promoting equity and inclusion for everyone in Canada. CFAA has established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to seek to achieve progress on those issues in Canada’s rental housing industry. Besides the moral rightness of that position, the Committee’s work and CFAA actions may help to forestall unjustified moves against the interests within the rental housing industry, and to support the advancement of justified changes. CFAA thanks the current members of the new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Asquith Allen, FRPO, Ontario

Avrom Charach, a Manitoba rental housing provider

Cameron Choquette, Saskatchewan Landlord Association

Krish Vadivale, CFAA, a national rental housing provider

Fay Yachetti, a national rental housing provider

There are three main areas which seem to drive the current push for equity, diversity and inclusion, namely unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and addressing historical wrongs.

Unconscious bias Recent academic research has identified that all or almost all of us have unconscious biases. See the article at page 40 for more on unconscious bias. Unconscious attitudes, beliefs and perspectives, about people who are different from us, are often so deeply rooted that we don’t even know they exist. That makes it difficult to recognize when they are affecting our decisions and leaking out into our interpersonal interactions.

Micro-aggressions Another issue driving a desire for more action is the issue of micro-aggressions. Even well-meaning people can inadvertently display micro-aggressions against members of equity seeking groups. Microaggressions - whether intentional or unintentional - tend to flow from things like bias (conscious or unconscious), a lack of knowledge, a lack of awareness and fear. Examples of micro-aggressions include • asking questions that imply that a hijab is merely a fashion accessory, to be worn or not worn as a person feels like it, the way many non-Muslim women wear a scarf; • telling a racialized member of the community that their English is perfect; or • not making eye contact with a woman, when speaking to a man and a woman together.

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NATIONAL OUTLOOK Proactive steps need to be taken to educate everyone so that micro-aggressions are eliminated from our interactions with others. When microaggressions do occur, people need to notice them, address them and rectify them, so they do not persist. We all have a part to play in holding ourselves - and others - accountable for ensuring micro-aggressions do not show up during our interpersonal interactions.

Addressing historical wrongs The human rights rules seek to eliminate discrimination by stereotypes. The provincial Human Rights Codes identify grounds under which people experience discrimination, such as race and religion. As landlords selecting tenants, we have been taught to ignore race or religion, to seek to ensure we are not assuming negative factors about racialized or marginalized people. However, under human rights law, we are entitled to look at individual rental histories, and screen out individuals who have a history of defaulting on their rent or of disturbing neighbours through excess noise.

Women in rental housing Like many other business people, rental housing providers have not always been friendly to racialized and marginalized members of our communities who are seeking to advance in the industry. In many ways, that explicit or implicit discrimination has also been directed at women. CFAA’s new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will recruit additional members, review that situation, consider steps to address that issue as well as the racial issues.

CMHC’S PLANNED SURVEY. At some point in the next few months, CMHC Plans to conduct a survey of rental housing providers to seek to gauge what impact racial issues have on landlords’ operations. CFAA working with CMHC to design the survey, which will probably address current practices to manage tenant behaviour, and the steps that are taken which lead to evictions.

Reformed laws could require landlords to accept Watch for more information in the next issue of racialized or marginalized applicants with poorer National Outlook in RHB Magazine, and for CFAA track records of defaulting on rent, or disturbing e-Newsletters about that survey. neighbours through excess noise, over non-racialized and non-marginalized applicants, even though that is not required by current human rights law. That would be a form of mandatory affirmative action. Some progressive housing advocates have raised a suggestion that landlords be required to accept applicants for tenancies on a first-come-first-served basis without screening for history of rent payment, and possibly without any screening at all.

Issues specific to rental housing The acronym BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. Specific issues are being raised about the treatment of members of the BIPOC communities in rental housing, particularly in large cities, where many landlords rent to BIPOC community members in large numbers. It seems clear that the over-representation of BIPOC communities in many rental properties often stems from systemic and institutional racism in society as a whole. That results in BIPOC community members having, on average, lower incomes (and less stable incomes) than non-racialized individuals (and thus needing rental housing more, because qualifying for a mortgage and buying a home can be more difficult for many of them than for non-racialized people).

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH NATIONAL OUTLOOK? Sign-up for CFAA’s National Outlook e-newsletter to receive up-to-date news on what is happening across Canada, as well as industry insights and insider information on CFAA happenings. Email communication@cfaa-fcapi.org to start receiving CFAA’s e-Newsletter today!

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rentalhousingbusiness.ca | |39 39 rentalhousingbusiness.ca


MARCH/APRIL 2021 For decades, recent immigrants have tended to rent more than people who were born in Canada. That continues today, with a twist. Now, more recent immigrants to Canadian cities tend to be racialized and marginalized members of the community than was the case 20, 30 or 40 years ago.

Conclusion With the help of its new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, CFAA will review the issues, and consider education, action and advocacy to embrace diversity and promote equity and inclusion for all equity seeking groups, while at the same time, protecting rental housing providers and tenants from measures that would put at risk our ability to provide rental housing that meets people’s needs.

Unconscious bias: How does it happen? How do we stop it? By John Dickie, CFAA President

CFAA has established an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to seek progress on equity, diversity and inclusion in rental housing. Why is that step necessary? One reason is unconscious bias. Over my 30 years of representing, advising and meeting landlords, I have found that the vast majority of landlords are decent and honest people, who believe that all members of our communities should be judged by their actions, not the colour of their skin, their accent, their religion, their gender, or any other diversity dimension that people use to self-identify. But like everyone else, landlords are subject to unconscious bias. Growing up, we cannot help being influenced by who is around us. The people we grow up with, socialize with and work with, make up our in-group. We have an affinity bias for people in our in-group because they tend to look like us, talk like us, dress like us, think and behave like us - therefore we like them. We naturally approach and include them, and we trust them. Conversely, people who don’t look like us, talk like us, dress like us, think and behave like us, are often (consciously and unconsciously) put into our out-group. We tend to decide quickly that we don’t like them; and subsequently, we avoid or exclude them, we fear them and we don’t trust them. For some people, the negative pre-judgments may be conscious and purposefully malicious. However, for many people, the negative pre-judgments about people who are different are usually automatic and unconscious. In addressing both problems, the goal is to become aware of our conscious biases, and deeply rooted unconscious biases, so that we can be more intentional about what we think (and don’t think), what we say (and don’t say), and what we do (and don’t do), when interacting with people who are different from us. We all have a responsibility to judge people as individuals rather than applying stereotypes that are attached to the racialized or marginalized groups they belong to. This is critical when we consider the important role rental housing providers play in providing housing in our communities. CFAA knows that most rental housing providers want to provide good homes for tenants of all backgrounds. Most rental housing providers are not consciously prejudiced. However, the learning about unconscious bias says that unconscious biases need to be addressed for society to achieve the equity and inclusion that most people consciously want to see.

WE COULD ALL DO BETTER In Jay Smooth’s TED talk: “How I learned to stop worrying and love discussing race”, Smooth makes the point that to be good people, we are not expected to be perfect all the time. Because of unconscious bias, not being racist is more like brushing our teeth, than it is like having our tonsils taken out. (You can find Smooth’s talk by a search of “jay smooth TED talk race”.)

With all of this in mind, not all prejudgements are negative. Sometimes positive biases can exist in our interpersonal relationships - including landlordtenant interactions. Acceptance, trust, and leniency may be given more easily to certain individuals. Whether the way we are treating others is unconsciously positive or negative, we can easily get tripped up, resulting in discriminatory and inequitable treatment for people who are not like us, based on differences in diversity dimensions, such as the colour of their skin, their accent or their religion.

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NATIONAL OUTLOOK Overcoming unconscious bias So, what do we have to do to avoid our unconscious biases from influencing us in ways our conscious brains know are wrong? Here is a partial list of general steps we can take: • Overcome denial. Acknowledge to yourself that even though you are a good, well-meaning person, you have unconscious biases. • Curb action on positive biases. Instead, try to help other people equitably. • Evaluate your biases. If you see an event that you might be interpreting based on a bias, ask yourself if you are over-generalizing, and whether an unconscious bias could be distorting your view of the facts. • When you see someone unlike you behaving in a way contrary to what a stereotype would suggest, make a mental note of it. Remember, the goal is to treat people as individuals, not as members of the group they belong to, and what stereotypes say about that group. • Slow down your decision making. Decisions can be most easily and significantly influenced by unconscious biases when you are responding quickly or emotionally. Remain open and stay curious. Ask questions to gather facts that will inform your decision. Make assessments by using objective criteria. • Focus on the similarities that exist with other people, rather than placing emphasis on the differences. For example, someone unlike you in some ways may support the same sports team you do, or their children might go to the same school your children do.

Conclusion CFAA’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will work on developing and promoting education for rental housing providers to reduce the impacts of unconscious bias, and will seek other ways to make progress on equity, diversity and inclusion in rental housing.

CFAA Rental Housing Compensation Survey 2021-2022 The only Canadian survey of rental housing employee compensation and benefits. Find out market compensation for all key positions in the sector, at the city or provincial level. Sign up now to participate in the survey (to benefit from sharp discounts in the survey sales prices), by e-mailing admin@cfaa-fcapi.org. Visit www.cfaa-fcapi.org for more information.

MOBILE FRIENDLY

rentalhousingbusiness.ca | 41

Profile for Marc Cote

RHB Magazine March/April 2021 - National Outlook  

RHB, RHB Magazine, National Outlook, CFAA, Rental Housing Conference

RHB Magazine March/April 2021 - National Outlook  

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