Today the Government of Ontario tabled its fall economic statement, which was full of measures designed to address the high cost of housing for first time homeowners. Under the government’s new plan first time homebuyers would be exempted from paying the Land Transfer Tax (LTT) on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home, while the LTT refund would be expanded from $2,000 to $4,000. According to the government the costs of these new exemptions will be paid for by increasing the LTT on properties sold for more than $2 million.
Updates with Local Government Implications:
- Updates to the business property tax capping program that give municipalities the option to limit the program to historic changes, and broaden the eligibility criteria for the phase our of the capping program. This change should be in effect for the 2017 tax year
- A freeze on the property tax rates on apartment buildings.
- Creating a new Financial Services Regulatory Authority that will act independently of the government
- A pledge to keep consulting with municipalities about the sharing economy
- $1.1 billion in funding for schools to address much-need repair and upgrades
- A ban on door-to-door sales of water heaters, air conditions, furnaces, and water filters
- Passing legislation to licence and set the qualifications for home inspectors
- Eliminating fees for special occasion permits allowing the sale of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages
- A new dementia strategy to enhance services for people newly diagnosed or living with dementia and their caregivers
- Investing $32.4 million over four years in the Scale-Up Voucher Program to help companies overcome barriers to their next stage of growth
The government is sticking with its pledge to balance the budget by 2017-18 and keep it balanced for the 2018-19 cycle. The deficit for 2016-17 will remain at $4.3 billion (same as the 2016 budget projection), while the province’s net debt for the same period is projected to be $317.9 billion.