Freeland introduces bill to remove GST off rental developments, amend competition law

GST rental property Freeland

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland introduced legislation Thursday morning that would remove GST charges from new rental developments and update the country’s competition law.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised the new legislation earlier this month to address the housing crisis and affordability crunch.

During a news conference in New York City on Thursday, the prime minister called for other parties to support the legislation.

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“I urge opposition leaders back home to help us get today’s real solutions passed quickly,” Trudeau said.

Experts have called on the federal government to remove GST charges off new purpose-built rentals to help spur construction of these kinds of homes.

According to the Finance Department, the measure will provide $25,000 of tax relief for a two-bedroom apartment valued at $500,000.

New projects that began construction on or after Sept. 14 until the end of 2030 are eligible for the full rebate.

These projects must finish construction by the end of 2035.

The bill is also supposed to strengthen the Competition Bureau as part of the federal government’s effort to address high prices driven by a lack of competition.

The legislation would give the bureau the power to compel information from companies to conduct market studies and block collaborations that stifle competition and consumer choice.

It would also eliminate the “efficiencies defence” that has been used to allow anti-competitive mergers to be approved, if the efficiencies that are generated offset the competitive harm.

The changes to the Competition Act follow a promise from the Liberals to review the law.

Freeland, along with several other cabinet ministers, are to hold a news conference this afternoon about the new legislation.

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