Ontario 2020 Budget Adopts Two OREA Housing Recommendations

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The Ontario government released its 2020 budget this week, which includes a $45 billion investment for the next three years, with the deficit remaining at $38.5 billion.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Rod Phillips announced released Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover — the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

Ontario’s Action Plan now sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover will provide $15 billion in new supports from the $30 billion already announced earlier in the year.

READ: High Demand for Housing in GTA Will Continue Beyond COVID-19: TRREB

What’s more, the 2020 Budget adopted two OREA recommendations, focused on harnessing housing as an economic engine to support businesses, create jobs, and help communities that need it most.

Specifically, the Province has committed to creating a one-year Home Seniors Safety Tax Credit (HSSTC) and cutting Business Education Taxes for commercial properties. Both budget proposals were recommendations made to the Province as part of OREA’s Rebuilding Ontario: A framework for recovery.

According to OREA CEO Tim Hudak, the HSSTC will help keep seniors safe, create jobs, and generate economic activity. The credit will be worth 25% of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior’s principal residence in Ontario. The maximum credit would be $2,500, providing 27,000 families with $30 million in relief.

Eligible expenses would include grab bars and related reinforcements around the toilet, tub and shower, wheelchair ramps, stairlifts, and elevators. They would also include renovations to permit first-floor occupancy or a secondary suite for a senior.

To help businesses and communities that need it most, the province is also committing to cutting the Business Education Tax (BET) rates. The reductions will lower all high BET rates to a rate of 0.88% for both commercial and industrial properties beginning in 2021.

These changes will benefit 200,000 business properties, or 94% of all business properties in Ontario and provide approximately $450 million in annual savings.

Looking to the Spring Budget, Hudak says the province has an opportunity to make housing the locomotive that drives Ontario’s recovery by acting on other OREA other recommendations outlined in our Rebuilding Ontario report, including:

  • A temporary 6-month Land Transfer Tax holiday for homes under $600,000;
  • Creating opportunity zones in underprivileged communities; and,
  • Expanding on the HSSTC by introducing a broad-based home renovation tax credit.

“Despite the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontarians continue to tell us that buying a home is a good investment,” said Hudak.

“Ontarians want to be homeowners, and the health of our economy depends on their ability to be homeowners. Real estate saved our economy during the last downturn and it can once again be the locomotive that gets us back on track, stimulates the economy and gets Ontarians back to work.”

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