OTTAWA, June 6, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Home Builders' Association
(CHBA) today complimented Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on a budget
that will create the conditions needed to meet the economic and fiscal
challenges facing the country. "Today's budget provides a responsible
transition from stimulus spending towards creating the conditions that
will renew private sector demand and job creation," said CHBA President
Vince Laberege of Edmonton.
Mr. Laberge said "jobs are absolutely essential for durable economic
growth and stable housing markets. Artificially low interest rates and
short-term stimulus are no substitute for continued job growth in the
Mr. Laberge said "the CHBA is pleased to see the Harper government is
moving to fulfill commitments made during the election and that the
budget has a focus on responsible fiscal management and job creation."
Mr. Laberge applauded the government's decision to renew the ecoENERGY
Retrofit-Homes Program. "We are extremely pleased that Mr. Flaherty has
chosen to maintain momentum among homeowners for improving the energy
performance of their homes," he said. "This is an important and
practical initiative that can rejuvenate our existing housing stock,
reduce energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The program is complemented by the government's on-going support for the
R-2000 initiative, the EnerGuide Rating System and ENERGY STAR for New
Homes, all of which contribute significantly to the overall
environmental performance of Canadian homes.
Pointing out that the government can ill afford to ignore the
underground cash economy, Mr. Laberge observed that "the ecoENERGY
retrofit program has the added benefit of encouraging people to work
with legitimate renovators. It will bolster the government's efforts to
combat the underground cash economy in home renovation services."
"Illegal contracting creates problems for consumers, costs jobs and
income, undermines our continuous efforts to build a professional
industry and costs governments billions of dollars annually in lost
revenue," he said. "We look forward to working with the government even
more aggressively on this front."
Mr. Laberge welcomed the government's commitment to municipal
infrastructure investment. He said that support for basic
infrastructure - roads, bridges, sewers and water facilities - shows
federal leadership for a priority that involves all levels of
government. "Governments must recognize that infrastructure can no
longer be financed through the mortgages of new home buyers," he said.
With respect to human resources development, Mr. Laberge welcomed the
federal government's action to extend the tuition tax credit for
examination fees, introduce a hiring credit for small business and
identify ways to assist immigrants to cover the cost of credential
recognition. "These measures target a very important issue -- the
shortage of skilled people in our industry."
Going forward, the CHBA will be looking for opportunities to work with
the government to ensure federal tax and regulatory policies support
housing affordability and choice. This is particularly true with
respect to the HST/GST as it applies to new homes and renovations. Work
in this area will be critical to maintain the industry's capacity to
contribute strongly to the government's economic growth and jobs
Mr. Laberge said increasing the GST new home buyer rebate thresholds -
never adjusted since the tax was introduced in 1991 - and implementing
a permanent 2.5 per cent home renovation tax rebate "are the single
most important steps that the government could take to protect housing
affordability and choice."
The Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) is the national voice of
the residential construction industry, representing more than 8,000
member firms across the country. Membership comprises new home
builders, renovators, developers, trade contractors, building material
manufacturers and suppliers, lenders and other professionals in the
SOURCE Canadian Home Builders' Association
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