P.E.I. should exempt all home heating from HST: Real Estate Assoc.

The P.E.I. Real Estate Association is calling on the province to exempt all forms of home heating from the HST—not just oil. The request was made Thursday to a legislative committee.

Currently, only oil gets exemption, while greener homes 'punished' says association

People who use heating oil in P.E.I. pay only 5% HST tax, while all others pay 14%. (CBC)

The P.E.I. Real Estate Association is calling on the province to exempt all forms of home heating from the HST—not just oil.

The request was made Thursday to a legislative committee.

The association says over the past decade home builders have been switching to more efficient and environmentally-friendly heat sources like heat pumps and electric boilers.

But, it says the people who buy those homes are being punished by a government policy that charges five per cent HST on heating oil, and fourteen percent on everything else.

"Right now there's carbon taxes being talked about across the country, you're talking about emissions, you're talking about the whole thing, and here we are giving a break to the people that use the most polluting sources of heat," said Wayne Ellis, president of the association.

Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker says a tax should be encouraging the least polluting type of heat, not the reverse. (CBC)
Green Party leader Peter Bevan-Baker joined the debate, saying the government's policy is "absolutely backwards."

He also said it's time for a full review of the HST.

"What a tax should do is encourage the least damaging, least polluting form of heat," said Bevan-Baker. "So we should be removing HST from heat source pumps, from all sorts of other much greener technologies, and actually putting it on oil. But we have to be careful of doing that, because there are a lot of low-income Islanders who would be impacted."

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story had an incorrect first name for Wayne Ellis, president of the P.E.I. Real Estate Association.
    Mar 04, 2016 1:46 PM AT

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