Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, presented the government’s 2016 Budget to the Legislature yesterday. The budget outlined the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy, invest in major infrastructure projects, low-carbon initiatives and programs to improve Ontario’s workforce. The Minister indicated that the government is on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.
What does the 2016 Budget mean for Ontario REALTORS®?
- Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT): We are happy to report that Budget 2016 does not reverse the province’s commitment not to give municipalities MLTT powers. OREA continues to monitor for legislation that would give any new revenue tools to municipalities.
- Personal Real Estate Corporations (PRECs): Unfortunately, the government did not include OREA’s pre-budget recommendation to permit the use of PRECs by real estate salespeople or brokers. OREA will continue to advocate for this proposal.
- Cap-and-Trade Initiative: Ontario will move forward with a cap-and-trade system as its carbon pricing mechanism. The government estimates that the cap-and-trade plan will add about 4.3 cents a litre to the price of gasoline and about $5 a month to natural gas bills.
- Ontario Home Energy Audits and Retrofits: The budget reconfirms the home energy audit and retrofit program introduced earlier this month. The program would invest $100 million from the Ontario Green Investment Fund to provide rebates for home owners with Enbridge or Union Gas to conduct an energy audit and retrofits recommended by the auditor. While OREA is supportive of the new program, we will continue to oppose any efforts to introduce mandatory home energy audits.
- Ontario Retirement Pension Plan/Pooled Registered Pension Plan: The budget announces the government’s commitment to move forward with the ORPP. The government also reaffirmed that their long term objective is to enhance the CPP.
- Changing Workplaces Review: OREA is currently involved in the Employment Standards Act, 2000 review, advocating to maintain the current exemption for real estate professionals. Budget 2016 announces that the Special Advisor’s leading the consultation will release their interim report by early 2016 and the full report in summer 2016.
- Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit (HHRTC): Budget 2016 announced that the HHRTC will end on January 1st, 2017. The HHRTC was created to help seniors live independently in their homes by making renovations more affordable.
For more information on the Ontario Budget please visit the Ministry of Finance’s website.