Thursday, February 22, 2024

Federal government to remove GST on new build construction slated for rental


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just made an announcement that might help the country’s middle-class and incentivize more construction of rental properties. 

Housing and food costs are at an all-time high, exceeding the rate of inflation by far. 

In reaction to this, Prime minister Trudeau announced new measures on Thursday, September 14th, that may help many British Columbians and Canadians. 

The Canadian government announced that they will be:

  • Incentivizing construction of rental homes by introducing legislation to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the construction of new apartment buildings for renters. 
  • Calling on provinces to match the federal rebate by pausing provincial sales tax (PST) and harmonized sales tax (HST) on new rentals
  • Requiring local governments to end exclusionary zoning and encourage building apartments near public transit

Following this announcement, Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing provided a statement in support of this initiative.

“Today’s announcement from the federal government removing GST from new rental construction is very positive news, and a significant step toward enhancing housing affordability,” Kahlon said. 

Kahlon said he asked for this to be done back in June and is pleased to see that call-to-action was heard and is now being implemented. 

“These measures are crucial to addressing the rising challenges posed by historic interest rates and rising construction costs, which threaten our ability to meet the increasing housing needs of our rapidly growing population,” explained Kahlon. 

“Our government is committed to doing everything possible to deliver safe, affordable and quality homes for people. We need the federal government to help us do more,” he concluded. 

That wasn’t the end of Prime Minister Trudeau’s new measures though. 

He also announced that the federal government will be making changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account program, a pandemic measure that helped small businesses stay afloat, to allow an extra year in loan repayment.

When it comes to grocery affordability, the feds have called on grocery store chains to stabilize prices for the time being, considering the businesses have been growing and making money at an unprecedented rate while continuing to raise their prices. 

The leaders and owners of these grocery chains are being called into Ottawa in the near future to discuss how to remain profitable without making people choose between food and other necessities.

Trudeau also said that his government is looking for ways to increase competition in the grocery sector by introducing legislation that will:

  • Compel the Competition Bureau to conduct full and complete market studies 
  • Remove allowances for anti-competitive mergers that could cause Canadian consumers to pay higher prices and have fewer choices
  • Empower the Bureau to take action against situations where large grocers prevent smaller competitors from establishing operations nearby

The next Parliamentary session is scheduled for Monday, September 18th; however, these new legislations are not scheduled to be discussed by the House of Commons then, or in the following week.

Curtis Blandy

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