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Stephen Harper Announces Permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit

By Joannah Connolly Aug 4, 2015

The Conservative Party is offering homeowners a new, permanent tax credit on renovations, should the party win the next federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced August 4.

Announcing the news in the hotly contested Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, Harper said the new program would offer a 15 per cent tax credit on home renovations of $1,000 to $5,000 a year, at a cost of $1.5 billion a year to the taxpayer.

The credit would apply to “renovations and permanent alterations to a dwelling, or the land on which it sits,” suggesting that spending on yard renovations would also be eligible.

The party said on its website, “For most Canadians, the family home is their biggest financial investment and the place where they raise their children, relax with friends and family, and enjoy their golden years. A permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit will help make it more affordable for Canadians to ensure their homes meet their needs.”

The initiative is intended to be a permanent version of the popular temporary home renovation tax credit introduced in 2009 as a recession-busting measure, which was worth an average of $700 per household and was used by three million households.

However, media reports are already calling out the party over perceived confusion on the proposed timeline for the credit. According to the CBC, when a reporter asked for clarification at the announcement press conference, Harper said, “We’re targeting this for mid-mandate. I think if you look at the fiscal track, we'll have that fiscal room. But we'll be sure that it's affordable and sustainable before we bring it in.”

However, a press release from the Conservative Party said a “re-elected Harper government will establish a new, permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit, effective in the 2016/17 fiscal year.”

The Globe and Mail also reported this morning that, speaking in Montreal, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair raised questions over the promise, pointing out the Conservatives had also killed a program to make houses more energy-efficient.

“Canadians will judge him on what he actually did, not on what he is promising during an election campaign,” Mulcair said.

Joannah Connolly
Joannah Connolly is editorial director of Glacier Real Estate, Glacier Media's real estate division. Joannah writes and curates real estate news for Glacier Media's local newspaper websites, including the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News, Burnaby Now, Tri-City News and others. She also oversees editorial content in Real Estate Weekly Homes, West Coast Condo, Western Investor and Glacier's special real estate publications. A dual Canadian-British citizen, Joannah has 22 years of journalism and editing experience in Vancouver and London, with a background in construction, architecture, healthcare and business media. Joannah has appeared on major local TV outlets as a real estate commentator, has moderated and spoken on various industry panels, and spent two years hosting the Real Estate Therapist radio show on Roundhouse Radio.
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