In coordination with CHBA BC's Government Relations Committee, we are tracking all advocacy and government relations activities and will be reporting on these efforts via the Advocacy Update.
Federal government reduces anti-dumping duties on U.S. drywall
On February 27, Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced new minimum import prices that are 32.17% lower than the normal values established in the initial anti-dumping investigation. This reduction is in line with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's recommendation to reduce the duties to 43% of the export price (from as high as 201%). The Minister also announced that the government will use the $12 million in anti-dumping duties already collected to provide relief to builders and contractors who were unable to pass through elevated drywall costs, due to fixed-price building contracts committed to before the imposition of duties. The program will be administered by Western Economic Diversification Canada, and is expected to start in mid-2017.
CHBA estimates that industry/association intervention on this issue resulted in $330 million savings for Western Canada businesses in new construction alone, and over $172 million in just B.C.
BC Budget 2017: Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold for first-time home buyers increased to $500,000 from $475,000
Effective for registrations made on or after Feb. 22, 2017, the threshold for the first-time home buyers program for the property transfer tax (PTT) will increase to $500,000 from $475,000. The partial exemption threshold has also increased to $525,000. This will now save first-time home buyers up to $8,000, which is an increase of $500.
CHBA BC recommended an increase to the first-time home buyers’ program in its 2017-18 pre-budget submission, to better reflect rising home prices. In 2014, the threshold for the exemption increased to $475,000 from $425,000.
Other positive announcements for the residential construction industry and small businesses include:
- small business corporate income tax rate decrease to 2 per cent, from 2.5 per cent, effective Apr .1, 2017.
- provincial sales tax decrease on electricity from 7 per cent to 3.5 per cent, effective Oct. 1, 2017. Effective Apr. 1, 2019, electricity purchases will be fully exempt from PST, which is estimated to save small and medium sized businesses about $50 million per year.
- 50 per cent decrease in Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums for British Columbians with an annual family net income up to $120,000, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
- $2.6 billion in post-secondary education infrastructure over the next three years, including investments in trades facilities in Surrey, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Prince George, Nelson, Campbell River, Dawson Creek, Terrace, and Vernon.
- a commitment to partner with local governments to ensure municipalities have the capacity, incentives and targets needed to expedite the processing, approvals and permitting of housing development applications. A Deloitte survey from Feb. 2017 has indicated that there are 115,000 units of housing at various stages of the planning and review process in six jurisdictions in the Lower Mainland.
CHBA advocates to government on new drywall tariff to protect affordability
In September, a new tariff on imported gypsum board (drywall) was announced. Although CBSA is within its mandate to impose a tariff, there are serious implications for housing affordability, with increases as high as $10,000 per door. CHBA BC has shared this issue with several provincial government representatives, in coordination with our National office in Ottawa. CHBA National also presented at the tribunal in Edmonton in November/December 2016 to share member concerns.
In January 2017, the Canadian International Trade Tribunal announced that the duties will be suspended for six months, be lowered to 43% on the export price (from a high of 276%) and a remuneration process will take place for those affected by the tariff in the months before the ruling. Options will also be considered to address the Fort McMurray re-build process. More information will be announced by the federal government on the tariff in the coming weeks.
CEO Neil Moody co-signs letter to Premier on property transfer tax for foreign buyers
In late July, the Government of British Columbia announced an additional 15% tax for non-Canadians who purchase property in Metro Vancouver. CHBA BC, and several other industry associations, expressed significant concerns that there was no exemption for all contracts signed in advance of this announcement. Custom home building and pre-sale agreements are signed years and months in advance of the transfer date, so this tax unfairly penalizes those who signed in advance with full knowledge of the taxes at the time.
Coalition of BC Businesses meet with Ministers, MLAs and Staff in Victoria
On May 17-19 members of the Coalition of BC Businesses attended meetings and events in Victoria. CHBA BC representatives included CEO Neil Moody, president Gordon Bliss and government relations chair Ron Rapp.
With the Coalition, Neil attended meetings with Minister Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, and Minister Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. The Coalition also hosted two receptions for both MLAs and staff members that were well attended and a big success.
CHBA BC also held two additional meetings on May 18 with both Minister Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing, as well as a meeting with representatives from the Building Safety and Standards Branch. Both meetings were a great opportunity to discuss member issues from across the province first-hand.
March 21-25, 2016 is Technology Skills Appreciation Week in BC
CHBA BC and the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASSTBC) were in Victoria at the B.C. Legislature on March 17 for the proclamation of Technology Skills Appreciation Week. Ministers Shirley Bond, Amrik Virk, and Parliamentary Secretary Greg Kyllo were also in attendance to help launch this unique event. Technology Skills Appreciation Week in B.C. recognizes the valuable contribution of people working in technological skilled trades to the province’s economy and labour force. See the announcement using this link.
British Columbia celebrates the first Red-Tape Reduction Day
The Hon. Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction hosted British Columbia's first Red-Tape Reduction Day on March 2, 2016. CHBA BC was at the Minister's launch event that evening in Vancouver that was well-attended by members of British Columbia's business community. To view the Ministry's engagement report, use this link.
BC delegates attend the CHBA Forum for Growth in Ottawa
CHBA Members from across the country once again converged on Parliament Hill to meet with Ministers, Members of Parliament and government officials to discuss the future of the residential construction industry. The Forum for Growth meetings took place on March 8, 2016 and CHBA BC was well represented at the event.
CHBA BC attends Budget 2016 in Victoria
The Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC advocated for changes to the Property Transfer Tax and reduced government-imposed costs on new housing in the 2016/17 pre-budget submission. You can view the submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services here.
CHBA BC attended the provincial budget lockup on February 16, 2016 in Victoria where changes to the property transfer tax on new housing were announced by the Minister of Finance. This exemption will save purchasers up to $13,000 on a newly constructed home and is estimated to provide approximately $75 million in property transfer tax relief for new construction in 2016-17. For more information, you can read the post-budget statement here.
From this source, it is reported that between Feb. 17 and June 29, 2016, 3,603 buyers have saved an average of $7,060 on their newly built homes. This is a total savings of $25,436,366!
CHBA BC participates in building stakeholder groups
CHBA BC actively participates as an advisory member in two stakeholder groups within the Building Safety and Standards Branch: the Fire Sprinklers Working Group and the Climate Leadership Plan Stakeholder Group - Built Environment.
Housing Minister attends 2015 Fall Provincial Meetings in Vancouver
CHBA BC held the annual fall provincial meetings on September 24-25, 2015 in Vancouver. The Honourable Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing, attended a roundtable discussion with builders and provided an update on opportunities that will result from LNG projects, the new Building Act, and other policies that influence the residential construction industry.
CHBA Actions in 2015 Result in Canada Post Suspending $200 Community Mailbox Fee Indefinitely
CHBA was pleased to announce in August 2015, that after further discussions with Canada Post, the Corporation has agreed to defer the implementation of the proposed community mailbox (CMB) fee indefinitely. This is a significant victory for CHBA's members and especially for new home buyers across the country.
CHBA, working in concert across all three levels of the Association, vehemently opposed any implementation of the proposed fee. With this indefinite suspension through to 2019, CHBA’s action will have saved new home buyers over $120M, with savings continuing annually thereafter.
Canada Post is working towards financial sustainability by 2019. They note that, should Canada Post not return to financial sustainability upon the successful completion of the plan, they would consider reassessing the need for additional measures. At that point, CHBA would take action again if CMB fees are proposed.