McGuinty Government Targets Home Sellers with New Energy Tax



    TORONTO, May 14 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government today gave third and
final reading to Bill 150, the Green Energy Act, which, when implemented, will
impose significant new costs on home sellers in Ontario. The new tax comes in
the form of an energy audit fee that must be paid by home sellers prior to a
single family home being sold.
    "Imposing more costs on single family homeowners in a time of recession
is bad economic policy," said Pauline Aunger, President of the Ontario Real
Estate Association (OREA). "The real estate market is one of the main drivers
of Ontario's economy and we're incredulous that the government would choose to
impose new fees when they should be doing everything possible to stimulate a
housing recovery in the province."
    The new audit fee is only applicable on single-detached, semi-detached,
houses, townhouses and fourplexes. Owners of high-rise condominiums, and all
other forms of non-residential real estate, are exempt from the energy audit
provision.
    "Single family home sellers are being unfairly targeted by home energy
audits," explained Ms. Aunger. "If the benefits of going green are shared by
all Ontarians, then why has the provincial government targeted single family
home sellers to pay the costs?"
    This is the third tax aimed specifically at real estate transactions in
the last three years. First, the government of Ontario passed the City of
Toronto Act, which allowed the city to impose the first ever municipal land
transfer tax in Canada. Earlier this spring, the Minister of Finance announced
that the provincial sales tax would be harmonized with the goods and services
tax, resulting in thousands of dollars in increased taxes on resale
transactions and tens of thousands of dollars in additional tax on new homes
in Ontario. Finally, energy audits could cost home sellers additional
thousands in lost equity.
    "Dalton McGuinty is using Ontario homeowners as his own ATM," said Ms.
Aunger. "Public policy should promote homeownership - not raise costs for
homebuyers and erode equity of home sellers."

    The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 47,000 brokers and
salespeople who are members of the 42 real estate boards throughout the
province. Members of the association may use the "REALTOR(R)" trademark, which
identifies them as real estate professionals who subscribe to a high standard
of ethics and service.
    OREA serves REALTORS(R) through a wide variety of professional
publications, educational programs, advocacy and other services.





For further information:

For further information: For Background: Jim Flood, Director of
Government Relations, (416) 442-3408; For Comment: Pauline Aunger, President,
Ontario Real Estate Association, (613) 285-9158

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