Ontario Construction News staff writer
The federal portion of GST will be removed from construction of new rental apartment buildings, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday – eight years after promising the change.
The Ontario government released a statement in support of the proposal. It said the province plans to remove its share of the HST on “purpose-built rental housing” as soon as possible.
“Minister Fraser’s quick action on this file will make it cheaper and easier to build more of the rental housing we desperately need,” Ontario’s Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy and Housing Minister Paul Calandra wrote in a news release.
Also, municipalities must end exclusionary zoning and encourage building apartments near public transit in order to get federal funding through the housing accelerator fund.
“This is something that all Canadians are worried about,” Trudeau said during a news conference. “We know that housing is a problem that takes decades to address.”
Liberals have also followed Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre in pointing the finger at municipalities for exclusionary zoning policies that prevent homes from getting built.
Housing Minister Sean Fraser sent a letter to Calgary’s mayor Thursday urging city council to make it easier for homeowners to rent out their basements.
“We will never solve the housing crisis in Calgary if it is not legal to build the homes required to meet the moment,” Fraser wrote in a letter to mayor Jyoti Gondek that she released on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The letter noted that cities must encourage building apartments near public transit in order to get federal funding through the housing accelerator fund.
Opposition parties says the Liberals are simply responding too late.
In a press conference of his own, Poilievre pledged similar measures that would reward and punish municipalities based on whether they have policies that encourage building homes.
His proposals include removing the GST from building new, affordable rental apartments, and he took a shot at Trudeau for breaking his 2015 promise.
“He’s flip-flopped again and he expects you to believe it,” he told reporters in Vancouver.