Canadian Home Builders' Association welcomes budget priorities

OTTAWA, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA)  today welcomed Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget measures that increase federal support for national infrastructure, improve the supply of skilled tradespeople, strengthen the manufacturing sector, and reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses.

"This is a fiscally prudent, forward-looking budget," said CHBA President Deep Shergill of Calgary. "We congratulate Minister Flaherty for setting the right priorities."

The federal government's leadership in providing additional long-term infrastructure financing to municipalities is very welcome. "It's an opportunity to restore fiscal integrity at the municipal level and fairness for younger generations.  At present, many municipalities are financing community infrastructure by transferring the costs into the mortgages of new home buyers, amounting to more than $5 billion a year. "

The budget's emphasis on skills training and development is the right direction to go, Mr. Shergill said. "We welcome measures to support apprenticeship and skilled labour training. Our industry needs skilled tradespeople to build and renovate homes for Canadians and this budget makes an important investment in that direction."

Mr. Shergill applauded the announcement of steps contained in the budget to support manufacturing industries. The home building industry will certainly benefit from the employment that will be created.

Mr. Shergill expressed disappointment that while the government has a strong focus on international tax cheating, it did not place the same importance on tackling the domestic underground cash economy.

"We have urged the government  to work more effectively and aggressively on this front," he said. "A permanent renovation tax rebate would strengthen the government's weaponry in combatting illegal contracting that creates problems for consumers, costs jobs and income, undermines our efforts to support a professional industry and costs governments billions of dollars annually in lost revenue. "

The CHBA President welcomed continuing federal efforts to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. "We need to get rid of unnecessary regulations and red tape which add to costs."

The measures in the budget to support Canada's National Research Council are important for the housing industry, Mr. Shergill said. "Investment in research and development has allowed new home builders to increase energy efficiency of a newly constructed home by 66 per cent since 1975. This is the result of innovation supported by government research and development. This collaboration must continue."

Mr. Shergill regretted that the budget didn't recognize the steady erosion of housing affordability and choice. The low cost of mortgage money has masked the fact that house prices continue to be pushed ever higher through taxes, fees, levies and charges, including the federal GST whose new homebuyer rebate thresholds have not changed since 1991. In some urban centres, the relationship between house prices and household incomes has reached a critical point.

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 housing sector.

SOURCE: Canadian Home Builders' Association

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John Kenward

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Canadian Home Builders' Association

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