TORONTO, ON –Today’s 2020 Ontario Budget took strong steps towards protecting the health and safety of Ontario families while laying the groundwork for a strong economic recovery. 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.
The HSSTC will help keep seniors safe, create jobs and generate economic activity. The credit will be worth 25 per cent 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, stair lifts and elevators. They would also include renovations to permit first floor occupancy or a secondary suite for a senior.
To help business 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 per cent for both commercial and industrial properties beginning in 2021. These changes will benefit 200,000 business properties, or 94 per cent of all business properties in Ontario and provide approximately $450 million in annual savings.
Looking to the Spring Budget, 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. Ontarians want to be home owners, and the health of our economy depends on their ability to be home owners. 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.
- Tim Hudak, OREA CEO