Thursday, 28 January 2010

Affordable Housing Opportunities in Toronto: the City’s Plan

Screenshot: Housing Opportunities Toronto:
An Affordable Housing Action Plan (PDF)

Housing Opportunities Toronto HOT Action Plan 2010 - 2010 -
a comprehensive 10-year strategy for meeting
the affordable housing needs of Toronto's residents

Anyone who is interested in affordable housing in Toronto should read the City’s proposal for action for this new decade (2010 – 2020).

We are looking at this document very carefully to see if we can be part of the building of new and the renewal of the existing housing stock. These are large scale projects that would allow us to train women in the building trades and at the same time help the community.

Martina Ernst

Wo-Built Inc.

About HOT Action Plan
A new Toronto Housing Charter is a key component of the Housing Opportunities Toronto HOT Action Plan 2010-2020, adopted by City Council August 5, 2009.
The Toronto Housing Charter - Opportunity for All is the first of its kind in Canada. The Charter is designed to guide Council and staff in their efforts to assist those who often face challenges finding affordable housing, from newcomers and single parents to seniors and those with disabilities.
HOT contains 67 recommended actions to be undertaken by the City of Toronto and the federal and provincial governments. It calls for new investment of $484 million annually for the next 10 years to help 257,700 households struggling with high housing costs or inadequate accommodation.
HOT will serve as a roadmap to guide federal and provincial investments, as well as public and private sector activity.
Credit: Housing Charter Highlights HOT

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

We Are Now Members of the Better Business Bureau

Screenshot: BBB Consumer News and Opinion (blog)Screenshot: BBB Consumer News and Opinion (blog)
Just to let everyone know we have been approved by the Board of Directors of the Better Business Bureau serving Mid-Western Ontario and the GTA as an Accredited Business.

The BBB Standards for Trust mirror ours perfectly and we endeavor to uphold them:
  • Build Trust
  • Advertise Honestly
  • Tell the Truth
  • Be transparent
  • Honor Promises
  • Be Responsive
  • Safeguard Privacy
  • Embody Integrity
For more information about the BBB’s Standard please go to BBB Code of Business Practices web page.
Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc.

BBB Reliability Report for Wo-Built Inc

Friday, 22 January 2010

Affordable Housing: Innovative Design to Enable Community Building

A new aspiration for Wo-Built – combining training women in the trades with providing affordable housing!

2010 will be year of change for Wo-Built. We started with the goal in mind to train women in the trades and to give them a fighting chance to succeed in the building trades. Our love for design let us to concentrate our efforts in the home renovation market – a great place to make people’s dreams come true. Unfortunately as a training ground it has proven to be not so successful and we need to find another avenue to provide effective training.

Our other interest is to provide affordable housing on a larger scale, but with something special – innovative design that enables community building. We would like to explore this with financial partners who want to make housing a better place to live.

Combining the two would be the ultimate goal. Two social missions in one application! The thoughts are in the infancy stage, but we would be happy to talk to likeminded partners.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc.

Wobuilt Inc: 2008 New Year Message from the CEO
Wobuilt Inc: 2009 New Year's Message from the CEO CMHC's Affordable Housing Centre

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Wo-Built’s New Years Resolution: Being Involved in Community Building Projects

Photo: Elida Huignard, President Wo-Built Inc at volunteer shift with Habitat for Humanity during Women Build Blitz, May 2009, by wobuiltPhoto: Elida Huignard, President Wo-Built Inc. at a volunteer shift
with Habitat for Humanity as part of the team for the Toronto Womens’ Blitz
May 2009 ©

2010 – a year of refocus and change for Wo-Built. We love making dreams come true for our residential clients, but we would like to add to the mix – projects that effect many people and making their lives better.

Therefore, we would like to be more involved in projects that are geared towards the community – such as community housing, health and wellness centres, daycare centres, youth and community centres, housing for the elderly and private community centred businesses – and we would like to be there from the start at the design stage.

We started in 2006 with the goal to help women succeed in the building trades and we are looking for opportunities to provide mentoring and training more successfully. We believe that some community building projects can be ideal to further this goal.

What could be better than providing a necessary building while helping women to build a future for themselves.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc.

Wobuilt Inc: 2008 New Year Message from the CEO
Wobuilt Inc: 2009 New Year's Message from the CEO

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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Tales from the Renovation Track: When Common Sense Should Prevail

Wo-Built: Tales from the Renovation Track: When Common Sense Should Prevail, by Janice Bell, Bell RenovationsCollage: construction, people at work, occupations, women, workers
Credits: MS Office ClipArt - j0285914

We are continuing our publication of a series of articles from our contributor Janice Bell – her experiences the renovation field. Almost a year ago we started to publish her Tales from the Renovation Track, and today we are posting a new installment of her series.

Part 12 - When Common Sense Should Prevail
There are times in the construction/renovation field that common sense should decide which direction to take.

#1 - For example, a gal I know is a manager in her family's fencing business. They weld and coat wrought iron railings, chain link fencing etc. She was at the sales desk one day when a customer inquired about perimeter fencing using a 4 foot high chain link fence.

After my friend wrote down the lineal feet required for a quote, the customer then asked about the strips one can purchase to wind through the chain links. "Well, we carry that product too!", my friend replied, "But it is an expensive accessory to purchase and I would recommend that you forego it in this case."

But as Murphy's Law would have it, this customer was quite insistent. My friend listened and listened some more and maintained her suggestion. The conversation was becoming quite strained.

"Why are you so set on the purchase of these strips for this four foot high fence?" my friend asked.

"Well, we want them for privacy from the neighbours", came the answer.

Without batting an eye, my friend replied, "Well, what happens if your neighbour stands up?"

#2 - Another time, I was called in to replace water-stained ceiling tiles. My customer told me she wanted the ceiling removed and all of the tiles replaced and re-trimmed. Because she was a repeat customer, and trusted me, she asked me to lock up as she was on her way out. I was there to measure and draw up a purchase list, when I got the idea to try this sealing primer I had out in the van. The first coat soaked up into the tile and the ugly stain was still there, albeit a bit lighter. I dry brushed out the edges of the wet paint, as it was a slightly different shade of white from the tiles.

This primer dries quite fast, so away I went with a second coat applied much more liberally. But the stain was still visible even though it was a mere shadow of its former self. It took longer for the second coat to dry, but when it finally did I coated it once more. Shazamm! It worked!

When my customer returned from lunch, I calmly informed her that I had fixed her ceiling while she was gone. She looked up and could scarcely believe her eyes. I told her how I had painted out the stains, and that even though I had in effect worked my way out of a job, it saved her a lot of money and mess. She was so impressed: I managed to get a lot of future jobs from her out of that one!

Happy Renovating!

Janice Bell
Bell Renovating
2010 © Janice Bell

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
Part 1: All in All
Part 2: Weld on Fire
Part 3: They Were Nailed
Part 4: It Pays to Be Honest
Part 5: Rural Renos
Part 6: Messy Is Costly
Part 7: Door Hell
Part 8: Just Where Do I Stop?
Part 9: Dressing for the Trades

Part 10: Very Painterly
Part 11a: Tricks of the Trade: Recaulking bathtubs / Placing peel and stick tiles
Part 11b: Tricks of the Trade: Wheelbarrows / Cutting a plastic pipe
Part 11c: Tricks of the Trade: Drywall mud / Admixtures
Part 12: When Common Sense Should Prevail

Friday, 8 January 2010

HURRY! Home Renovation Tax Credit Ends Soon

Screenshot: Canada's Economic Action Plan
The Home Renovation Tax Credit: Put Your Tax Dollars Back Into Your Home
Save up to $1,350 on home improvements purchased before February 1, 2010.
Time to take advantage of the renovation tax credit may be running out, but there are still a few incentives for home renovators out there. If you’ve been putting off those renovations for one reason or another and you think you have missed the deadline for the Ontario renovation tax credit which expires February 1st, 2010, don’t despair. There are still some grants and rebates in place that you may be eligible for that will go beyond the January 31st, 2010 deadline. One such grant is the Ontario Home Energy Savings Program. You can find more information about this grant if you follow this link

Another site that might be helpful in your search for receiving rebates for those costly renovations is

There is a long list of renovations for your home that might be eligible for rebates. So if you’re still thinking of getting those renovations done, there is still some financial relief out there. And, of course, we can help as well! Just call us at 416-354-2555 for your free Dream Home Assessment!

Or visit our website for more complete information on ways that we can help.

Lonya is the staff writer for Wo-Built Inc.