Buying and selling Bitcoin just got easier thanks to Netcoins

Buying, selling Bitcoin easy

Cryptocurrency pioneer and president of Netcoins, Mitchell Demeter, was drawn to Bitcoin through his interest in gold.

“It was a gold bug to begin with, but when I looked into Bitcoin, it had the same underlying principles as gold. I’d say it has even more advantages. It’s digital and can be sent all around the world,” Demeter says.

Bitcoin is digital money that doesn’t exist in any physical form (as in bills or coins) and is not owned by banks or governments. While it was the first cryptocurrency invented in 2008, Bitcoin paved the way for thousands of other digital currencies. However, Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency in part because it holds the biggest market share.

“Bitcoin was born out of the 2008 financial crisis. During that crisis, a lot of people looked at the existing system and started to understand there were a lot of problems with it,” Demeter says.

As a result, Bitcoin was created to offer the ability for two parties to exchange digital money directly with each other without going through a financial institution. This process of bypassing the middleman is what’s often referred to as “decentralized finance.”

A key characteristic of Bitcoin is that it is limited in supply. There is a cap on Bitcoin’s supply at 21 million to help it retain value in the long run. This stands in stark contrast to the dollar, which is unlimited in supply.

This appeals to investors who are concerned about the amount of money printing happening today. As banks continue to print money at unprecedented rates, the excess supply is expected to eventually devalue the worth of a dollar in the long-term.

“If the choice is between holding dollars that are intentionally being devalued or holding an asset with a finite supply, people have that lightbulb moment. They realize they don’t want to hold their wealth in a currency that’s depreciating over time,” Demeter says.

Demeter’s lightbulb moment came when deciding to purchase bitcoin in 2013, he realized there were significant hoops to acquiring bitcoin, which involved wiring money to Slovenia and waiting weeks for confirmation.

“The fact that you could have a scarce digital asset was revolutionary. The fact that it was limited made sense. From there, I started buying it. It was difficult because there weren't many places to get it,” Demeter says.

“Right away I recognized it as an opportunity for business. I created a brokerage where I could help Canadians buy and sell cryptocurrencies.”

Demeter became a pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry, co-founding Cointrader Exchange, one of Canada’s earliest online digital currency exchanges (which was acquired in 2015). He’d go on to gain worldwide attention for launching the world’s first Bitcoin ATM in Vancouver.

Continuing on his mission to make cryptocurrency accessible to all Canadians, Demeter joined Netcoins in 2017, officially becoming president in August 2019. Now Netcoins is one the easiest and safest ways to buy cryptocurrency in Canada.

“Netcoins is the product of eight years of experience within the cryptocurrency industry. We have been working hard to make it as easy as possible for Canadians to buy, sell and understand cryptocurrency. People will find that the process of buying and selling cryptocurrency is similar to the process of buying and selling stocks through an online brokerage,” Demeter says.

With as little as $50 dollars, Canadians can sign up to the Netcoins platform and begin buying and selling cryptocurrency. First, users will need to verify their identity as this is a legal requirement given they are a money services business. Once verified, getting started with cryptocurrency investments takes only a few minutes.

A unique characteristic of Bitcoin is that it doesn't have to be purchased whole. Rather, it can be bought in fractions. In fact, bitcoin is divisible up to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin, or eight decimal places down. This allows people to enter the market with small amounts of funds.

However, not everyone might feel ready to invest right away. The lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency world can leave it vulnerable to bad actors. That’s why Netcoins is proactively working with the BC Securities Commission and national regulators to help create a regulatory framework—one that will work for businesses and provide consumers with additional protection.

“We want people to know that with us, cryptocurrency is easy to understand, easy to buy and sell,” Demeter says.

To learn more and to get started buying Bitcoin more easily, visit netcoins.ca.

Habitat Kamloops' raffle winner drives away with $102,000 car

Winner California dreamin'

Brian Saunders is longing for the time he can cruise down a winding ribbon of asphalt along the California coastline.


The Burnaby school teacher is the 2020 winner of Habitat for Humanity Kamloops’ Classic Car Raffle. Saunders got the keys for the dark cherry red, 1968 Beaumont convertible delivered to him in early January by the Rust Bros, who restored the classic muscle car. The Rust Bros are stars of the History Channel and Netflix reality car show Rust Valley Restorers.

“Once things with the pandemic change a bit, I want to drive down the coast to L.A. It’s the perfect car for that,” says Saunders, who purchased his ticket online.

“When the ad popped up, I knew Habitat for Humanity Kamloops was a good charity, and I bought a ticket,” he says. “But I really didn’t consider winning it.

“Just like most raffles, you pay for the joy about thinking if you did. You are buying the dream for a few weeks.”

When he got the phone call a few weeks ago that his ticket had been drawn, the reality did not sink in right away that he would soon be getting the keys to the restored, rare classic valued at $102,500.

“I thought it was a scam. I didn’t think it was real,” he says.

Money raised from the raffle goes towards Habitat Kamloops’ ongoing efforts to develop attainable housing in B.C.

That is what drew Mike Hall, star of Rust Valley Restorers, to partner with Habitat Kamloops to supply a total of five cars from his shop in Tappen for the Classic Car Raffle.

“They (Habitat Kamloops) do a lot of good things for people, and I thought it would be really nice if we could be involved,” Hall says. “Everyone deserves a nice place to live. And there’s a lot of people who sadly don’t.”

Hall added he’s proud of the efforts of his Rust Bros team to transform the car that was part of his collection.

“It didn’t look like this when the folks at Habitat Kamloops first saw it. It was rough,” Hall says. “It needed pretty much everything, including a whole new front end.

“They only made 47 of these. It’s a 327 Beaumont custom rag (convertible), so it was a pretty rare Canadian car.”

With this year’s Habitat classic car delivered, work will soon start on next year’s prize—a vintage Barracuda.

“They’ve got me pretty busy already,” Hall says. It’s a great partnership. We get to build some cool stuff, someone gets to win a rare and valuable car for just a $25 raffle ticket, and people get a nice place to live.

“So, as far as I can see, it’s a win, win, win.”

The delivery of the 1968 Beaumont will be featured on an episode of Rust Valley Restorers later this year.

For more information, visit habitatkamloops.com.

Self-Management BC helps chronic health sufferers develop skills

Health coaching will help

Good health is easy to take for granted, that is until you no longer have it. Living with a chronic health condition presents challenges one doesn’t think about until faced with them. Those issues can seem minor to others, but overwhelming to the person coping with the illness.

Whether trying to organize treatment options or starting a new regimen, figuring out a way forward can be daunting, even when surrounded by family members with the best of intentions.

Self-compassion is what people need, says University of Victoria Professor Patrick McGowan, Director of Self-Management BC, which offers a health coaching program for people with living with chronic conditions.

“We say that self-compassion is an important thing especially during this time when people are so isolated,” McGowan explains. “Self-compassion means taking care of yourself and thinking ‘yes, I’m worth it. I should do something good for myself.’”

Health coaching is an easily accessible, simple and practical way to achieve that all-important self-care by developing self-management skills to navigate the daily challenges of a chronic health condition. 

The three-month, provincially funded, BC Health Coach program is conducted by phone with a trained volunteer coach who also has experienced chronic health issues. 

“Coaches are people coping really well with their health challenges and have an interest in helping somebody else,” McGowan says.

Participants are matched according to gender and age, and, if possible, similar interests. 

Once a week, for about 30-45 minutes, the coach will chat with the participant about how their condition has been affecting their daily life. They’ll ask questions about their health, their medications and the things they’re supposed to be doing. 

“People will usually identify something they’re having a problem with,” McGowan says. 

“Here’s where we show the person the problem-solving process. There’s a way to solve the problem to get the answer. People don’t always know how to solve problems very well.” 

Both the participant and the coach receive a comprehensive resource book Living a Healthy Life: With chronic health conditions or chronic pain which supports the coaching process and references real-life situations and solutions. It’s also a way to have the participants start exploring resources.

McGowan says that the book is “one way to get people to find information for themselves, and especially to learn how to problem solve.” 

Through the conversation an action plan can be formulated to easily achieve a certain goal; for example, going to the pharmacist to ask a question about their medication. 

Making small steps builds confidence, McGowan asserts. 

“People who are more confident usually do things,” he says.

It’s important to note that the coaching is completely health focussed, meaning it is not life coaching. Nor is it an intense psychological intervention. The objective is to start and sustain healthy behaviours. 

“This is a peer health coach who shows people self-management strategies: problems solving, how to start something or make a difficult decision. The participant has the chance to learn these skills and then move on at the end,” McGowan explains.

However, if a participant feels they need more than the three months, Health Coach BC will look at extending it for another three-month term.

McGowan is careful to point out that during the program, the coaches and participants don’t meet in person. The coaching is conducted solely by telephone and they must agree to that. “It’s not a dating service or a buddy service,” he says. “But if at the end of the program, it’s up to them if they want to make arrangements to have a cup of coffee together.”

He adds that sometimes people do meet up but it’s rare because everyone is situated all over the province.

The most important outcome of this coaching connection, McGowan says, is that the participant develops skills, so they manage their chronic health condition to be happier in their life.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops opening ReStore in Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm getting ReStore

Good ideas tend to spread.

And Habitat for Humanity Kamloops is preparing to open another ReStore in Salmon Arm next spring.

Habitat Kamloops was established in 2006, with the ReStore opening shortly afterwards. And since then it has become a trusted centre for donations from the community—homeowners, contractors, retailers and manufacturers—of new and used furniture, large and small appliances, household goods and building materials that are then sold to the public at greatly reduced prices.

“The public can come to the ReStore and save anywhere from 40 to 60 per cent below retail,” says Bill Miller, Habitat Kamloops’ executive director. “The original intent was for the Restore to generate enough revenue to cover the operating expenses of Habitat Kamloops and its efforts to help families, seniors and veterans get into attainable housing.”

The new ReStore location in Salmon Arm will play that role as well, and more, when it moves into the 8,500-square-foot site, the former Kal Tire building, just off Highway 1.

“It’s a great location,” Miller says, adding that part of the secure exterior will serve as a staging area for Habitat Kamloops building projects in the community. This was a large part of the decision to choose Salmon Arm for the new ReStore.

“Habitat Kamloops covers four regional districts in the interior of B.C. Our broad service area creates the opportunity to better serve other communities like Salmon Arm where we are working on a seniors’ housing project, plus other projects nearby in Enderby, Sicamous and Blind Bay.”

Part of the ReStore’s success has been the impact it has had on the surrounding communities.

For one, it diverts quality used goods and materials from landfills. But the Kamloops Restore is also stocked with donations of brand-new items from the generous businesses in the community.

“We have businesses like Urban Barn, which is a major contributor, donate brand new, high-end furniture that hasn’t even hit their showroom floor, and we sell it a substantially reduced price,” Miller says.

Other larger donors include hotels in the region that can routinely have commercial grade furniture to re-home as each property undergoes a renovation.

But the benefits of the ReStore don’t end there, as it creates jobs, volunteer opportunities and economic activity.

Habitat Kamloops employs up to 15 people at the original store.

Initially, the Salmon Arm ReStore will employ as many as eight people, and will require about 30 to 40 volunteers.

“When Habitat Kamloops comes into a community and spends a dollar on a project, the economic spinoff there is four times that,” Miller says. “That can add up very quickly when you are involved with a million-dollar build.

“Communities like to see us bringing our business to their communities because we bring them something positive, in terms of affordable housing and economic activity.”

More information about Habitat Kamloops’ ReStore and the ReStore can be found here.

Energy efficiency of buildings should be important election issue

Retrofits big election issue

While pandemic-related health policies are front and centre in this election campaign, it’s important not to lose sight of other critical issues that will impact us long after a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. Climate change is a crisis that is not going away, as demonstrated by recent wildfires. The British Columbia Real Estate Association recognizes the importance of this issue and has a specific recommendation to address greenhouse gas emissions from our current building stock.

While proposed changes to the 2022 BC Building Code will set higher standards for energy efficiency in new buildings, much can be done to address emissions from existing buildings. By providing incentives so that building owners can make informed decisions on energy retrofits, the government can accomplish many of its climate change goals, stimulate economic activity and create new job opportunities.

There are already financial incentives available from governments, utilities, financial institutions and suppliers. BCREA is looking to the provincial government for long-term, sustained funding to support property owners now and into the future, and those incentive programs are expected to be available to owners of existing commercial, purpose-built rental, multi-family strata and single-family properties.

This is a timely initiative, as home needs are evolving and many homeowners are considering renovations. Because of COVID-19, homes also function as offices, schools and primary entertainment centres. But there’s more to consider than immediate need.

When planning a renovation, property owners should also consider energy efficiency. The objective should be to improve air tightness of the building envelope, reduce heat loss and improve the efficiency of mechanical systems. Current incentive programs allow for experts (energy modellers) to assess the building and determine the best combination of energy efficiency measures (windows upgrade, additional insulation, improved air tightness or upgraded mechanical systems, for example) to get the most bang for the buck. This also includes accessing the best package of incentives within the property owner’s budget. Having competent contractors to complete the work is an absolute necessity, as well as monitoring the effectiveness of the improvements.

BCREA believes that the most progressive, sustainable step the government can take for the real estate sector is to continue these incentive programs, expand them where possible, and develop a public outreach program for consumers and homeowners to educate and inspire action. When more property owners make informed decisions to reduce their carbon footprints and cut energy costs, the entire province benefits.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Kamloops Chamber offers take & bake option for this year's show

Business awards get creative

Kamloops Chamber of Commerce and MNP opened the nomination period for the 34th annual Business Excellence Awards on March 13.

A few days later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of B.C. and the world.

The novel coronavirus is not going to stop the Kamloops Chamber from honouring its best and brightest businesses and people, but the awards show will have a different format when the event is held on Saturday, Oct. 24.

“We really felt like we couldn’t just let it go, and we felt it would be important to recognize businesses who’ve worked really, really hard over the last year and a half,” chamber executive director Acacia Pangilinan says.

This year’s awards will feature a take and bake option for those wishing to take part in the event but, at the same time, remain in the safety and comfort of their own home. Guests will choose one of four seasonally inspired menu options curated from a roster of local chefs and either pick it up or have it delivered to their home. They will then prepare their meal and take in the awards show via Facebook Live.

The award finalists, sponsors and dignitaries will be in attendance at the four participating restaurants but socially distancing to keep everyone safe.

The participating restaurants are BARSIDE Lounge & Grill, Cordo Resto + Bar, The Noble Pig and ROMEOs Kitchen + Spirits, and they will be the primary benefactors from the event’s ticket sales.

“It’s really neat, because we tried to get in different parts of the community,” Pangilinan says. “There’s a group over on the North Shore. There’s a group of people up in the Aberdeen area, and then there’s two restaurants downtown.

“So the show’s really taking place throughout the entire community, which will be a first for us. Normally the event would be a 400-person gala in a ballroom.”

There are three finalists each in 14 award categories, which range from Business Person of the Year to the Technology Innovator Award.

“It’s really important for us to take a moment to recognize some of the businesses and key people in our community that have worked really hard to stay afloat in the pandemic,” Pangilinan says.

At-home take and bake options for the 34th annual Business Excellence Awards, presented by MNP, can be purchased here. Orders must be made by next Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Five fantastic fall getaways ready to be enjoyed in beautiful BC

Five B.C. getaways this fall

With mild temperatures and the soft golden rays of afternoon sun, fall offers plenty of opportunity to explore. From coastal escapes to mountain adventures, there’s no shortage of incredible BC getaways fit for this time of year. Here are five trip ideas to get you on the road.

Remember to plan ahead and travel responsibly. 

Live the Country Life

A rustic retreat offers a chance to get back to the basics. To experience an original pioneer homestead, head to one of BC’s many guest ranches like Graham Dunden Guest Ranch, located east of 70 Mile House, where you can saddle up to explore the Cariboo’s secluded pastures and the gem-coloured waters of Green Lake. For a more modern take, family-run ranch Myra Canyon Ranch features contemporary furnishings, mountain- and e-bike rentals, and picturesque horse rides overlooking Okanagan Lake

Retreat to Mountain Hot Springs

BC’s hot springs resorts make for a particularly stunning stay in fall. Bask in mineral-rich thermal pools as snow starts blanketing the mountains at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, and bighorn sheep come out to graze at Radium Hot Springs. On Arrow Lake, at Halcyon Hot Springs, guests can enjoy exclusive access to three outdoor wellness pools before turning in for the evening at a luxury chalet.

Discover the Unexpected in The Fraser Valley

The scenic Fraser Valley features its own set of charms. Hope delivers on hundreds of kilometres of designated trails, including the hike to Hope Lookout for valley views, and a self-guided Rambo Walking Tour of the old blockbuster’s film setting. Nature photography enthusiasts appreciate the Fraser Canyon for its labyrinth of historic bridges, narrow rock gorges, and dazzling lakes. The Mighty Fraser Circle Route provides unique highlights too, including Manning Park Resort’s dark sky astronomy, and the fabled golden larch of fall.

Find Serenity on the Sea-to-Sky

Relax and renew in Vancouver, Squamish or Whistler. A stay at downtown Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim starts slowly with breakfast in bed and personalized care at Willow Stream Spa. Go underground at the Britannia Mine Museum, south of Squamish (advance booking recommended). Or, head to Whistler to take in the region’s celebrated works of art at the Audain Art Museum, followed by a visit to the Scandinave Spa Whistler’s quiet sanctuary of hydrotherapy baths.

Seek Seaside Tranquility

Time spent near the ocean can be rejuvenating, be it a city stay exploring Victoria, or a visit to one of the many coastal towns along BC’s rugged shoreline. Parksville offers nearly 20 kilometres of soft, sandy beaches. Salty ocean air and goats grazing the rooftop of the Old Country Market in nearby Coombs are some of this town’s perks. Order ahead, then drive a half-hour north for the famed oysters from Fanny Bay Oysters Seafood Shop. For a tranquil retreat, wind down at the Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort

Adapting to life’s changes part of helping building a community

Habitat never stops helping

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops’ mission is to help build and grow communities for seniors, veterans and families in need of a safe and decent home.

Often, that involves adjusting to change.

That is why Habitat Kamloops is designed to be a “living and breathing” organization that can accommodate life’s natural ebbs and flows.

A prime example of that is the recent situation where the original owners of three homes Habitat built several years ago along Westsyde Road have moved on, and now those vacant units, spread across two duplexes, have been passed on to new families.

“In Habitat’s home ownership program, we have a buy-back provision in our mortgage agreements,” explains Bill Miller, Habitat Kamloops’ executive director. “So, in the event a family chooses to leave their home, then we exercise our right to purchase the property.”

Under that agreement, the previous homeowners were given back their principal mortgage payments made while they were residents of the homes, and then Habitat Kamloops conducted another selection process for families to take up residence in the three, four and five-bedroom homes.

A total of 45 families were screened starting last November, and three were chosen in January 2020.

“Now, these families are getting the benefit of moving into these units under the Habitat Kamloops home ownership program,” Miller says.

In this particular instance, that includes having each family provide 500 hours of sweat equity in preparing the home for occupancy. Normally, on new Habitat Kamloops builds, families contribute their time during construction of the home.

And as per normal, under Habitat Kamloops home ownership agreement, mortgage payments are designed to not exceed one-third of a family’s income.

While finding new owners for a Habitat home is somewhat unique—most families stay long-term—the organization’s creative and flexible nature that adjusts to real-life changes extends further than just single-family homes, Miller says.

For example, Habitat Kamloops upcoming multi-family project in Salmon Arm, designed mainly for seniors, is open to a home trade program.

“If you are a senior, already have a home and want to move into one of these new units in Salmon Arm, Habitat Kamloops will look at taking their home in a fair, market value trade,” Miller says. “The senior then moves into one of our units, and we go through the family selection process and find new occupants for the home we acquired.

“We call that our ‘housing continuum.’”

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Kamloops and how it helps adjust to growing communities, visit their website here.


From mountain towns to its shoreline, BC offers plenty this fall

Ways to explore BC this fall

In fall, vivid colours transform an already spectacular setting. With fewer crowds and a slower pace, it’s a wonderful time to travel within our vast backyard. Here are four ways to experience BC this fall.

Remember to plan ahead, and travel responsibly. 

Visit Charming Small Towns

BC’s small towns are tucked among mountaintops, rainforests, and coastlines—find your ideal location and stay awhile.

Mountain towns are perfect for anyone looking to reconnect with nature on a grand scale. Forested peaks are at your doorstep calling you to adventure. Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is home to hundreds of heritage buildings and an eclectic food scene. Further east, towns like Cranbrook, Golden, and Fernie offer the dramatic scenery of the East Kootenays. 

BC’s rugged shoreline draws both adventurers and artists, who flock there for inspiration. Gibsons and Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast boast vibrant art scenes with plenty of locally-owned shops and galleries. Explore sheltered waterways in a kayak, and enjoy fresh fish and chips on land. 

Celebrate Harvest and the Changing Season

Autumn is a time for celebration and renewal, from colourful foliage to food and drink. See the elusive golden larch in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, or on a guided hike with Playwest Mountain Experiences in the Purcells. Celebrate fall’s harvest with a visit to a winery or a farm tour along culinary corridors like the Fraser, Okanagan, or Cowichan valleys. Prepare your palate for October’s Craft Beer Month with a taste test on the BC Ale Trail.

Change Your View With a Cabin or Ranch Stay

Get off the grid with a relaxing getaway to a luxury lodge, guest ranch, or rustic cabin. Stay at Quaaout Lodge & Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort for lakeside serenity in the Shuswap or Cameron Ridge Bungalows in the Cariboo’s playground of pine and spruce. For a memorable holiday on horseback, visit Wells Gray Guest Ranch or Flying U Ranch

Find Beauty in the City

The tree-lined streets of BC’s urban centres offer plenty of natural beauty. Stay in Victoria and rent a bike to explore the Galloping Goose Regional Trail that runs from Victoria’s downtown waterfront to a hidden lake, a quiet cove, and a forest of fall foliage. Pick up treats at Little Vienna Bakery to refuel after your ride. 

Spend a weekend in Vancouver and wander the West End for a display of Instagram-worthy autumn leaves. Or, visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with its water lily pond and burgundy hues, for a peaceful oasis in a bustling city centre.


Babylon by TELUS Health offers convenient care during COVID-19

Make most of virtual care

B.C. has been praised for its effective response to the pandemic. But many aspects of life have still been impacted, including regular access to care.

According to a recent study by Nanos Research and TELUS Health, a third of British Columbians have delayed medical care for themselves or their loved ones due to fear of exposure to COVID-19.

Virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, are on the rise, providing safe, convenient access to care that complements existing health services. In fact, more than three in five B.C. residents had a phone or video call with their family physician during the pandemic, and over half said they would use virtual care services even after the pandemic subsides.

Still, more than half are eager to learn more about virtual care. With 74% of British Columbians concerned that a second wave of the virus will impact their ability to receive care, it’s important for them to better understand how these services work.

“The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty,” says Dr. Sarah Olson, a B.C. family physician. “When used to its full potential, virtual care will help give families more access to the care and support they need, reassuring them in the face of a potential second wave.”

Particularly helpful for those without a family doctor or who have trouble accessing a healthcare provider, Babylon by TELUS Health allows British Columbians to check their symptoms and quickly connect with a B.C.-licensed physician even during evenings, weekends and holidays. Through the app, B.C. residents can receive care for respiratory symptoms, skin conditions, or even anxiety and depression, as well as get referrals for any necessary diagnostic testing or specialist appointments, and have prescriptions filled, all through their smartphones.

Dr. Olson recommends these tips to make the most of a virtual appointment:

• Register in advance — Register via virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, in advance of any health issues or concerns, ensuring the service is ready to go as soon as you need it.

• Gather personal health information — Complete your profile with your medical history, current medications or allergies, and list your symptoms when booking your appointment so the physician has enough information to make an accurate assessment.

• Secure a private setting — Consider conducting the virtual session in a quiet, private setting that offers the same level of confidentiality as a physician’s office.

• Share consultation notes — If you have a family doctor, add your physician’s name and contact information to your profile to have your virtual consultation notes shared directly with them.

Financing deal helps boost affordable home construction plan

More Habitat homes coming

The comfort, safety and independence created by affordable housing just got a step closer to reality for more families, seniors and veterans in B.C.’s Interior region.

Thanks to an agreement with Interior Savings Credit Union to provide financing services, Habitat Kamloops will be able to significantly increase the number of homes it helps build each year for those in need.

Historically, Habitat’s home ownership program offered 100% financing with zero interest, no down payment and 500 hours of volunteer work by a recipient family whose monthly mortgage payment was tailored to not exceed 30% of their income.

“That meant Habitat needed to fund 100 per cent of the land and building costs,” says Bill Miller, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, adding some of those funds came from a number of sources, including sponsorships, and donated supplies and materials.

“Basically, we have now negotiated a deal that provides a combination of a mortgage with the credit union, and a second mortgage with Habitat,” Miller says. “It has typical mortgage terms covering 65 per cent of a home’s assessed value. And where the home recipients win is the remaining 35 per cent covered by Habitat acts as equity.”

That allows Habitat to buy back the property and offer it to another family, senior or veteran in need if the original homeowner moves.

But moreover, what the addition of financing means is Habitat can build a greater number of houses each year, all while the cost to the home recipients remains at a manageable amount, based on their income.

“Typically, we were only able to provide one of two units each year. This agreement with Interior Credit Union will enable us to move in an entirely different direction that will allow us to build many more,” Miller says, adding the ultimate goal is to provide 40 to 60 homes annually.

“And that can be single-family residences, duplexes, townhouses or multi-family homes.”

While this will help fill part of the need for affordable housing in the region, the local economy will also benefit from getting people into their own homes, thanks to the ability for Habitat to access capital to buy materials and pay for services when building homes.

“Originally, we used the model where we asked the community to donate their time or materials to build a home,” Miller says. “But you can only ask the community for that so many times.

“Now, we can call up a business and tell them to give us their best price.”

Studies have also shown that for every dollar Habitat Canada spends in the community, it creates $4 of economic benefit.

For more information about Habitat Kamloops, visit their website at habitatkamloops.com.


This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Take survey, maybe win $100 by explaining which path you took

Go to work, or go to school

How did you decide whether to seek or avoid more formal education after Grade 12? A new online survey in B.C. wants to find out, and participants have a chance to win $100.

Dawne Bringeland, a faculty member at Thompson Rivers University and BCIT, is researching how people make the decision whether to get a post-secondary education as part of her dissertation.

“I’m just trying to understand the thought processes behind choosing to go to some form of education or not, and I’m seeking to understand the barriers that might be present that influence the decision-making process,” says Bringeland, a doctoral candidate at Fielding Graduate University’s School of Leadership.

The online survey takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, Bringeland adds. Participants can enter a random draw for one of five $100 prizes.

Bringeland is also looking for a cross-section of interviewees who will each be paid $50. All personal data will be kept separate from the anonymous survey.

She hopes to hear from a wide range of respondents from across the province.

Some may have entered an undergraduate degree program; trade school or other stream of formal education while others may have entered the workforce directly after high school or considered upgrading their skills later in life.

Bringeland’s research draws on previous studies, which have looked at barriers to post- secondary education such as the increasing cost of tuition, parents’ own education background, psychological barriers and emotional gaps.

She intends to learn a bit about the backgrounds of the people who made the post-secondary education decision. For example, some students may have had no barriers whatsoever and still decided against it.

Finding out what drives such decisions could benefit students, educators and schools but also have a wider positive impact, Bringeland says.

“There’s a split here,” she says. “What do we need as an economy—in terms of school and student outcomes—to support and grow the economy? And what do we need to do as a society to provide the opportunities for youth to get into those streams [to follow their passions] so that they are not left behind?”

Bringeland’s research on decision-making and post-secondary education has been underway for a decade and she finds the timing of the survey during the pandemic fascinating, she explains.

One thing she wonders is how work-from-home scenarios might influence a person’s decision. Part of B.C.’s workforce has avoided returning to the office but that isn’t an option for workers in manufacturing and production, for instance. The entertainment and hospitality industries have been hard-hit and responded in creative ways, but what will they look like in the future?

Bringeland believes the pandemic has presented an opportunity to consider how and where we work, and “really think about where we want the economy to land.”

She says her findings may present opportunities to look at different models of education that are as legitimate as an undergraduate degree or trade school, but provide an easier path for people to pursue their passions.

“One of the things I hope to come out with is some recommendations on how we present educational opportunities and what kind of changes might need to be considered to get people into school,” she says.

“We’ve got a very linear model of education right now. If we think about open-education models, are there different models that would work better for some of these students who say, ‘It doesn’t work for me because of X, Y and Z’?”

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your experience and win $100, the survey runs online for one month, click here to enter.

More StandOUT articles