tax credits

Home builders propose tax credits and policies to kick-start economy

Monday, June 8, 2020

Tax credits for home renovations and energy retrofits are among a long list of measures Canadian home builders are proposing in a new 20-page plan submitted to the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.

The Canadian and Ontario Home Builders’ Associations (CHBA and OHBA) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) say the goal is to help “kick-start the Canadian economy post COVID-19.” Since the Greater Toronto Area accounts for 20 per cent of Canada’s GDP and 50 per cent of Ontario’s GDP, the group says the region must remain a key focus.

“Our industry is well-positioned to play a significant role in the recovery of the GTA, Ontario, and Canada,” said David Wilkes, President & CEO, BILD. “Working with our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders’ Associations, we have put together a roadmap for simple changes that will have a great impact to the economy.”

Proposed measures include transferring mortgage tenancy to the date of occupancy for new condominiums, eliminating security deposits for Ontario land transfer tax on affiliated transfers and freezing municipal increases to property tax reassessment and development charges.

Another proposed recommendation is to free up monies that would otherwise be stuck in such things as municipal agreements (refundable deposits paid by developers) and replace them with surety bonds, freeing up billions in potential investments that otherwise would have been parked.

“To help stimulate economic growth and keep Canadians properly housed, we will need to foster housing supply while also ensuring demand-side measures are adjusted to reflect the times,” said Kevin Lee, CEO, CHBA. “Accordingly, we recommend 30-year amortizations for insured mortgages, and adjusting the mortgage stress test for both insured and uninsured mortgages. Removing the GST on new homes purchased for 2020 and 2021 would also be a timely catalyst for new home construction.”

Additionally, stimulus measures are needed to generate jobs that were lost while maintaining current tax revenue. An incentive is also proposed for a home renovation tax credit for people making upgrades to their homes and a refundable tax credit for expenses to upgrade buildings in Ontario and for repurposing facilities in Ontario because of COVID-19. These initiatives would be self-funding by freezing out the cash operators in the renovation industry.

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