Canadian Rental Service

Cross country budget roundup

By Canadian Rental Staff   

Features Government and regulatory Business Intelligence

AdobeStock By foxysgraphic

Spring time is budget time. Here are highlights of interest to the rental industry from provincial budget proposals across the country. Note these are subject to passage by the relevant legislatures. Sources are government press releases and websites.

Federal – Improved employee ownership
Ottawa announced it has reached a deal with Visa and Mastercard to reduce credit card interchange fees by 27 percent. On housing, the feds are allowing money they give to the provinces for housing repairs to be spent on new building of affordable homes. There’s $4 billion for housing for Indigenous people. $20 billion is going into clean energy infrastructure projects. The income tax deduction for trade tools has been doubled to $1,000. The feds are also looking to introduce tax changes to facilitate the creation of Employee Ownership Trusts. Selling the business to employees would become a more attractive proposition for owners looking to exit and employee-owned businesses would be able to re-invest more of their profits in growth. There’s money for work on the Cartier and Champlain bridges in Montreal. $108 million over three years goes to regional development agencies to support local tourism projects and events with $50 million over three years to attract major international conventions, conferences, and events to Canada.

British Columbia – Affordable housing push
B.C. is proposing an additional $4.2 billion in operating and capital funding over three years – the largest three-year housing investment in B.C. history – for more homes for people who rent, Indigenous people and middle income families. The budget supports the Future Ready plan to make post-secondary education and skills training more affordable and accessible, promising thousands of training seats and a new grant for short-term training programs to help people get trained and working in high-demand fields. The plan also includes new funding to assist small and medium-sized businesses in finding and implementing technology and practical solutions to current labour market challenges. Investments include $1 billion through the Growing Communities Fund that will help local governments enhance community infrastructure and amenities.

Alberta – Helping people move around
The Alberta budget earmarks $2.3 billion over three years for projects and programs that expand and improve Alberta’s road and bridge network and $369 million over three years for Alberta’s Broadband Strategy, supporting businesses in remote areas. There is $54 million more per year for the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program starting in 2025-26 to support Air Products’ clean hydrogen facility. $30 million is set aside in 2023-24 for the Red Deer airport expansion, and $23 million over three years for the Aboriginal Business Investment Fund to support community-owned, Indigenous business initiatives – a 50 percent funding increase. The budget has $24.5 million in 2023-24 for the Alberta Technology and Innovation Strategy and $10 million over three years for rural business supports and economic development capacity-building initiatives. 

Saskatchewan – Government buildings galore
Saskatchewan promises $297.9 million municipal revenue sharing, part of $503 million of direct provincial support to municipalities. The budget has $3.7 billion in capital investment for hospitals, schools, highways and “many needed municipal and Crown projects.” $442.9 million is earmarked for transportation capital.

Manitoba – Tax cuts plus spending on infrastructure
Manitoba is cutting income taxes with $311 million in tax relief through an increase to the Basic Personal Amount in 2023 and $160 million to increase income tax bracket thresholds to $47,000 and $100,000 in 2024. It budgets $190 million to reduce payments charged to Manitoba Hydro, saving Manitoba Hydro and ratepayers more than $4 billion over the next 20 years. The minimum wage will increase in April and October, bringing it to $15 per hour. Manitoba plans to spend more than $2.5 billion on highway infrastructure over the next five years. Also in the budget is up to $160.4 million on an on-going basis for cost-shared investments in municipal capital projects, including water and wastewater projects. $147.6 million over two years will be invested into the Hudson Bay rail line to the Port of Churchill. An additional $50 million contribution will be made to the Venture Capital Fund to grow businesses in Manitoba. The budget further includes $2.3 million to increase the payroll tax exemption and the reduced rate threshold, $92.5 million in funding to support post-secondary education and the labour market. There’s an uncosted promise to increase investments in mining activities, as well.

Ontario – Big focus on skilled trades
Ontario plans to increase the phase-out range for the Ontario small business corporate income tax rate. Ontario’s small business CIT rate is currently subject to a small business limit of $500,000 of active business income that phases out when the business has between $10 million and $15 million of taxable capital employed in Canada. The proposal would extend the phase-out to between $10 million and $50 million. This change would mirror the federal government’s extension of the federal phase-out range for the federal small business CIT rate, which was recently legislated. This proposed measure would apply to taxation years that begin on or after April 7, 2022, for consistency with the federal effective date. The budget proposes launching a voluntary clean energy credit registry for businesses that demonstrate that their electricity has been sourced from clean resources, such as hydroelectric, solar, wind, bioenergy and nuclear power. Businesses on the registry would be listed on a website and have their claims certified by the registry administrator. This could become a useful tool when and if embodied carbon measurements become part of building codes. The budget provides $224 million in 2023 and 2024 for a new capital stream of the Skills Development Fund to leverage private-sector expertise and expand training centres, including union training halls, to provide more accessible, flexible training opportunities for workers. It also enhances the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program with an additional $25 million over three years to attract more skilled workers, including in-demand professionals in the skilled trades, to the province. Also, the province commits to helping students earn credits toward both their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary degree, diploma, certificate or Certificate of Apprenticeship at the same time through dual credit opportunities.

Quebec – Take a holiday
Quebec plans to introduce a new tax holiday on expenses related to large investment projects. The holiday would have a 10-year duration and apply to employer contributions to the Health Services Fund. Quebec income tax rates are going down one percent for people in the first two tax brackets. The duty on new tires for road vehicles will be increased by an unspecified amount.

New Brunswick – Build, baby, build
$3 million will be spent on preventative maintenance on bridges around the province and $4 million to expand the summer brush-cutting program. The carbon-emitting products tax goes up from $40 per tonne to $50 per tonne effective April 1, “as per requirements of the federal government.” New Brunswick has set aside $1 million to assist with the settlement, integration and retention of newcomers, with $200,000 used to support international student retention aimed at retaining skilled newcomers. The government will phase in provincial property tax rate reductions over three years beginning with the current property taxation year. To further support growth in housing stock, the government will increase spending on affordable housing by $6.3 million this year. Opportunities New Brunswick has been given additional flexibility in its loan guarantees to support and stimulate workforce housing opportunities in rural New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia – Hospitals and housing
The Nova Scotia budget promises $538 million for healthcare capital projects including $275.1 million for the Halifax Infirmary expansion and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality healthcare redevelopment projects and $91 million for construction and renewal of other hospitals and medical facilities including projects in Bridgewater, Pugwash, Yarmouth, Amherst and at IWK Health. There’s $20.9 million to deliver the More Opportunity for Skilled Trades program, which provides workers in eligible skilled trades and film and video occupations under the age of 30 a refund on the provincial income tax paid on the first $50,000 of income. $13.2 million goes to provide funding to small- and medium-sized employers to hire first-year apprentices in Red Seal trades with $943,000 more as part of a multi-year plan to modernize Nova Scotia’s Apprenticeship system. Immigration will swell the workforce with $1 million more to expand the team that supports immigration and population growth, with $200,000 more, for a total of $1.6 million, for community-based settlement service organizations to support a growing number of newcomers. Nova Scotia has set aside $3 million for energy and resources development initiatives. $498.5 million will be poured into Nova Scotia’s roads, highways and bridges, including $60 million more for secondary highways and $15 million more for gravel roads. There is $14 million more for the Rural Impact Mitigation program for the maintenance and repair of rural roads, for a total of $36 million this year. This is odd: $2 million more to help community centres buy and install generators to provide a gathering place for their community members when needed. Anyway, there’s also an investment in building rental housing with $21.6 million more to create 1,000 new rent supplements, for a total of 8,000 rent supplements; $15.3 million more for public housing repairs, for a total of $21 million; $13.1 million more to address the waitlist for home repair and adaptation programs, helping over 800 additional homeowners; and $2.5 million for initiatives to accelerate housing developments of all types and at all income levels in the Halifax regional municipality

PEI – Not a lot of business focus
Most of the PEI budget is about various social supports. But there is $1.5 million for investments to support increased transit routes across the Island and make all current transit routes free for anyone under the age of 18. Maybe those projects will need to rent stuff.

Newfoundland and Labrador – Getting costs down
Newfoundland plans to spend more than $140 million on housing, including construction of more than 850 rental homes. Travellers get a break with 50 percent off the cost of registering passenger vehicles, light trucks and taxis for another year. the province plans an 8.05-cent-per-litre reduction on the price of gasoline and diesel – saying it will be the second lowest rate among provinces. the budget plans to increase the exemption threshold of the Health and Post-Secondary Education Tax from $1.3 million to $2 million, saying it will benefit 1,250 businesses. There’s more than $1.1 billion for infrastructure projects, including an historic investment in provincial roads and highways. More business-friendly measures include a manufacturing and processing tax credit; a green technology tax credit; $140 million for workforce development; and $1.5 million to improve air access.

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