Notes from the federal Fall Economic Statement
December 6, 2023 By Patrick Flannery
Ottawa released its 2023 Fall Economic Statement in November. Here are some takeaways of particular interest to the architectural glass community.
Stimulating housing builds
The statement announces that co-operative housing corporations that provide long-term rental accommodation would also be eligible for the removal of the GST on new rental housing, provided the other conditions have been met. The measure is not intended to apply to co-operative housing corporations where occupants have an ownership or equity interest. The removal of GST will not apply to substantial renovations of existing residential complexes.
To build more rental apartments, faster, the statement announces an additional $15 billion in new loan funding, starting in 2025-26, for the Apartment Construction Loan Program, bringing the program’s total to over $40 billion in loan funding. This investment is expected to support more than 30,000 additional new homes across Canada, bringing the program’s total contribution to over 101,000 new homes supported by 2031-32.
To build more affordable housing, the statement announces an additional $1 billion over three years, starting in 2025-26, for the Affordable Housing Fund. This investment will support non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers to build more than 7,000 new homes by 2028. This top-up is to be supported by $631 million previously intended for the one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit.
The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that in the coming months, the federal government will advance the next phase of its work to remove the barriers to internal labour mobility, including by leveraging federal transfers, and other funding, to encourage provinces and territories to cut the red tape that impedes the movement of workers, particularly in construction, health care and child care, within Canada. This work will include:
- Working with provinces and territories towards full interprovincial labour mobility for construction and health care workers to meet labour market needs; and
- Expanding on the success of the Red Seal Program to improve the mobility of tradespeople and eliminate further barriers, such as duplicative credential recognition.
The federal government is working to eliminate other barriers to internal trade by removing unnecessary federal exceptions in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
The federal government launched in May 2023 a new selection process under the Express Entry immigration system to prioritize permanent residency applicants with specific skills, work experience, education, or certifications, including in the construction sector. Since May, 1,500 workers with experience in the trades have been invited to call Canada home. Following extensive engagement with unions, the government has focused this year’s application process on candidates with work experience including in carpentry, electrical, welding, plumbing, contracting, and other trades that can help build more homes, faster.
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