Upcoming federal budget must include tax, housing policy changes: RESCON

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is calling for tax and housing policy changes in the 2024 federal budget to address housing supply and affordability issues.

“There are several industry-related elements that should be part of the budget document including changes to tax and housing policy, improvements to the immigration system, making surplus Crown land available for housing and measures to support municipalities to construct the infrastructure required to facilitate residential housing construction,” RESCON president Richard Lyall said in the building association’s submission to finance minister Chrystia Freeland.

The budget is expected to prioritize creating the economic conditions to allow for the trend setting central bank policy interest rate to come down from a 22-year high of 5 per cent. The budget is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March or April.

RESCON recommends that the federal government:

  • Introduce taxation measures including a full rebate of the HST for first-time homebuyers. Extend the exemption or rebate on the collection of the HST beyond rental housing to all residential buildings and significantly increase transfer payments to municipalities from federal taxes collected from the construction sector.
  • Reform the immigration system to focus on increased targets for skilled trades workers that will encourage and simplify entry of potential newcomers prepared to work in the construction industry. There should be a particular focus on the specialized skill sets required to build homes in Canada.
  • Consider activating surplus Crown and Crown agency land for residential housing and support the ability of municipalities to build the infrastructure required to facilitate residential housing construction.
  • Expand recruitment efforts at Canadian embassies and consulates around the world.
  • Remove the requirement for applicants to have a certification of qualification within the Federal Skilled Trades Program (Express Entry).
  • Prioritize TEER 5 jobs so that they can qualify for Express Entry and ensure language requirements for Express Entry do not exceed CLB 4. RESCON unreservedly supports all programs that provide permanent resident status to out-of-status construction workers, in particular within the GTHA. It believes that an ongoing pilot program should continue to be extended and the approval of permanent resident status for these workers be at least doubled with a view to increasing this number in forthcoming years.
  • Align immigration policies, housing supply, health care services, education and infrastructure initiatives within the context of a national housing strategy.


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