DCN ARCHIVES

March 9, 2005

CHBA conference

Homebuilders unveil national six-point plan

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) has endorsed a six-point plan that will be forwarded to the federal government for action.

Newly-elected CHBA president David Wassmansdorf unveiled the plan at the association’s 62nd national conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland on the weekend.

The plan proposes:

— Four tax changes that will help expand access to housing affordability and choice;

— Working to reduce risk liability that stymies innovation by homebuilders and developers;

— Implementing a national human resource development action plan for the residential construction industry that is linked to immigration policy changes;

— Ensuring that federal dollars for municipal infrastructure are wisely spent;

— Engaging the support of the new homebuilding industry in implementing Housing Minister Joe Fontana’s toolbox approach to a national housing policy framework; and

— Supporting innovative industry pilot projects in such areas as brownfields redevelopment; suburban revitalization; and broadening housing options for modest-income groups.

Wassmansdorf, president of Passport Homes Limited in Burlington, Ont., called for indexation of the GST rebate for the purchase of new homes to reflect increases in new home prices.

He said the government of the day promised indexation when the GST was introduced.

To combat the underground economy, he said the federal government should reform the GST collection and reporting system so that all businesses operating in the residential construction industry are required to register for the GST.

At present, businesses reporting less than $30,000 annual income are not required to register.

Wassmansdorf also called for reform of the tax treatment of rental housing “to stop the erosion of confidence in rental housing investment.”

He called for consultations among the homebuilding industry, the insurance industry and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to address a major CMHC study of the risks that builders face in the normal course of business.

In addition, he said, concerns about liability stymie innovation.

“Future innovation depends on our ability to change the liability environment.”

Wassmansdorf said the Feb. 23 federal budget provided the funding to implement a national skills training strategy for the industry but it must be linked to immigration policy that encourages immigrants with skills to work in the residential construction industry.

Wassmansdorf said the impacts of municipal taxes, levies and charges on housing affordability and choice must be on the table for discussion at all levels of government now that Ottawa is delivering on its commitment to allocate a share of gasoline tax revenue for core municipal infrastructure.

“Unless the federal government’s support for municipalities is tied to reductions in other government-imposed costs, consumers and communities will not see the benefits.”

Wassmansdorf complimented the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, John Godfrey, for emphasizing the need to develop municipal capacity to manage infrastructure more effectively.

“Canada’s urban challenges now have strategic national attention not seen for decades.”

Wassmansdorf also commended the government for moving towards smart regulation and smart government.

“We are very pleased that detailed work to design a portable housing allowance program is under way at CMHC,” he said.

A portable housing allowance, proposed last year by CHBA, fills the gap between rent and available income, in most cases much more cost-effectively than building new subsidized housing, he said.

“Today, government has recognized that, in a great many cases, the key to improving people’s lives is to give them the money to access adequate, suitable accommodation — close to their places of work, schools and important services.”

The CHBA is the national voice of the residential construction industry, representing more than 7,000 member firms across the country.

Print | Comment

MOST POPULAR STORIES
TODAY’S TOP CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

These projects have been selected from 371 projects with a total value of $1,936,826,394 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Thursday.

GOVERNMENT OFFICE TOWER

$134,000,000 Toronto ON Prebid

CONDOMINIUM APARTMENT BLDGS, TOWNHOUSES, RETAIL

$128,250,000 North York ON Prebid

CONDOMINIUM APARTMENT BLDG, OFFICES, RETAIL

$100,000,000 Toronto ON Prebid

Daily Top 10

CURRENT STORIES
TODAY’S TOP JOBS

Experienced Site Superintendent
Ontario-Cobourg

Project Manager
Ontario-Oshawa

Estimator
Ontario-Toronto

Site/Field Coordinator
Ontario-Mississauga

Superintendent
Alberta-Red Deer

Operations Foreman
British Columbia-Vancouver

Earthworks Estimator
Ontario-King

Junior Construction Manager
Alberta-Fort McMurray

Estimator/Project Manager
Ontario-Gormley

Machinist
Alberta-Edmonton

More jobs 

myJobsite.ca

Your gateway to
the top careers
in construction
and design