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Friday News Round Up: May 26, 2017

Here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week:

Canadians are hoarding loyalty points

Canadians might be savvy points collectors, but they aren’t cashing in their hard-earned rewards! According to a recent study by Bond Brand Loyalty an estimated $16 billion in unused rewards points are being stashed away by Canadian consumers. While Canadians are signing up for loyalty programs at higher rates than ever, studies show that program engagement has stagnated over the past four years.

Experts say that loyalty programs would benefit from offering personalized and tailored experiences to increase engagement amongst users – an insight worth noting for brands, like Air Canada, who are looking to establish their own loyalty programs in the near future.

Condo residents stand up to serial board members

Residents of Toronto’s Five condo successfully forced the resignation of four controversial condo board members this week. Accusations leveled against the four include vote rigging during board elections and “serial board membership” on condo boards of buildings in which they aren’t legal residents.

The calls for resignation were precipitated by a CBC Toronto investigation into the former board members’ activities at various urban high rises including L Tower, The Element Condos, and Icon Condos.

Is the housing bubble deflating?

Canadians have their eyes peeled for signs of a cooling housing market, and a surge in Toronto property listings could be an early indication of what’s to come. According to TREB’s April data release Toronto housing market saw an uncharacteristic upswing in inventory, with a 33.6% increase in listings in April 2017 compared to April 2016.

Experts believe recent government intervention in the housing market may have played a role in affecting overall perception of the market, causing buyers to want to “cash out” on homes before a sharp decline in home prices. The Globe and Mail, however, argues that the increase in listings in April is a likely as a result of properties being re-listed by agents when bidding wars don’t materialize at their original price.

Canadian students are financially literate…kind of

Canada recently ranked third in a youth financial literacy survey of OECD countries, with China and Belgium taking the top spots. While this was cause for celebration by the government, a deeper dive into the survey results revealed a mean test score of 533 in Canada, which equates to a Level 3 out of 5 in financial literacy. At this Level, students can understand and apply “commonly used financial concepts, terms and products” but fall short of being able to understand complex financial concepts and tasks, such as managing a bank account.

The Ontario government’s revamped approach to teaching financial literacy in classrooms is set to address the shortcomings in knowledge amongst Ontario high school students: a career studies pilot program is currently underway in 28 Ontario schools.

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