McGuinty Using Homeowners as His own ATM

To quote the President of the Ontario Real Estate Association, Pauline Aunger.

Toronto, May 14, 2009 - The McGuinty government today gave third and final reading to Bill 150, the Green Energy Act, which,  when implemented, will impose significant new costs on home sellers in Ontario. The new tax comes in the form of an energy audit fee that must be paid by home sellers prior to a single family home being sold.  

"Imposing more costs on single family homeowners in a time of recession is bad economic policy," said Pauline Aunger, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). "The real estate market is one of the main drivers of Ontario's economy and we're incredulous that the government would choose to impose new fees when they should be doing everything possible to stimulate a housing recovery in the province."

 The new audit fee is only applicable on single-detached, semi-detached, houses, townhouses and fourplexes. Owners of high-rise condominiums, and all other forms of non-residential real estate, are exempt from the energy audit provision.

 "Single family home sellers are being unfairly targeted by home energy audits," explained Ms. Aunger. "If the benefits of going green are shared by all Ontarians, then why has the provincial government targeted single family home sellers to pay the costs?"

 This is the third tax aimed specifically at real estate transactions in the last three years.  First, the government of Ontario passed the City of Toronto Act, which allowed the city to impose the first ever municipal land transfer tax in Canada. Earlier this spring, the Minister of Finance announced that the provincial sales tax would be harmonized with the goods and services tax, resulting in thousands of dollars in increased taxes on resale transactions and tens of thousands of dollars in additional tax on new homes in Ontario. Finally, energy audits could cost home sellers additional thousands in lost equity.

 "Dalton McGuinty is using Ontario homeowners as his own ATM", said Ms. Aunger.  "Public policy should promote homeownership - not raise costs for homebuyers and erode equity of home sellers."

 The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 47,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 42 real estate boards throughout the province. Members of the association may use the "REALTOR®" trademark, which identifies them as real estate professionals who subscribe to a high standard of ethics and service.

 OREA serves REALTORS® through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy and other services.



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