Ontario Budget For Housing
February 21, 2023
Jason Burggraaf, Executive Director
Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association
This week I had the opportunity to speak before the provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as part of its 2023 Pre-Budget Consultations.
Our budget recommendations take the next step from the province’s recent moves in housing policy and regulations with fiscal measures to support the construction of 1.5 million new homes across the province (151,000 in Ottawa) over the next decade:
- Eliminate the provincial portion of HST on new housing entirely and offset that shift in revenue with a flat tax on all new home sales.
- Strengthen the land transfer tax rebate for first time home buyers and increase the maximum refund from $4,000 to $10,000 dollars for qualifying buyers in order to ensure that the rebate remains effective.
- Audit municipal development charge by-laws and background studies to confirm compliance with the Development Charges Act, and implement changes to ensure that development charges are only spent on the growth-related infrastructure that they were collected for.
- Continue to use the recommendations of the Housing Affordability Task Force to inform the government’s housing supply action bills.
- Expand the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit into a fulsome Home Renovation Tax Credit.
- Enhance infrastructure investments at the municipal level in order to support housing goals.
It’s the last two I’d like to expand on a little more:
Renovation is not just repairs and upgrades. It’s often fundamental and radical changes to our living spaces - adaptions so that an elderly person can continue to live in their home safely; increases in energy efficiency of 40-, 60-, 80-year old homes so that they are more comfortable and cheaper to operate; and it’s creating additional dwelling units so that we have more homes for people and families, and improve affordability across the spectrum.
It’s critical that we continue to encourage that renovation work be done above board, not only for the tax implications, but so that we can help ensure that jobs are done correctly and safely.
The other item is investment in municipal infrastructure.
Ottawa needs new infrastructure to support new homes for its growing population. Ottawa’s potential for intensification will be limited by the ability of existing infrastructure to support that growth.
Intensification also won’t produce more affordable homes if costs to put in the appropriate infrastructure are borne by the people who live in those new homes.
Ensuring the appropriate infrastructure is in place for new housing will address a critical factor in housing supply and affordability.
These recommendations will help ensure that our fiscal policy supports our housing policy.