May 18, 2021

Industry organizations weigh in on federal budget

The federal government’s 2021 budget and plan for Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery has a lot to offer the skilled trades and building sectors, but industry associations say it could have gone further.

Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience was introduced by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland in late April, and was the Liberal government’s first budget in more than two years.

Many of the budget proposals do reflect industry recommendations, according to the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI). That includes “support for home and building retrofits, favourable tax treatment for investments in clean technology and targeted investments in skilled trades and apprenticeship.” However, HRAI says there are still details missing around programs such as Greener Homes.

Investments in the sector include $300 million in funding over the next two years from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to convert vacant commercial property into housing, and $4.4 billion to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help Canadians retrofit their homes through interest-free loans worth up to $40,000. The government will also reallocate $1.3 billion in existing funding to speed up the construction or repair of 35,000 affordable housing units. Infrastructure Canada will receive $22.6 million over four years to conduct the first national infrastructure assessment.

The budget met several Canadian Construction Association’s (CCA) recommendations, including an increased investment in green and trade-enabling infrastructure, and a 25-year plan and investment to advance innovation in construction. Read more here.

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