Ontario 'not prepared' to wait for data before implementing foreign buyers tax: minister
Chris Ballard says data still being collected on impact of 'non-resident speculation' tax
The Ontario government is not going to wait for data on the impact of its 15 per cent "non-resident speculation" tax before implementing it to help tame the housing market, says the provincial housing minister.
Chris Ballard told Metro Morning that data on the tax, part of a package of measures designed to make the housing market more predictable for Ontario residents, is still being collected. The Ontario government announced its housing plan on Thursday.
The plan includes a 15 per cent tax on home purchases, in Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe, by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada and by foreign corporations.
"We are working closely with the federal government, we are working closely with organizations in Ontario, to continue to collect the data. The decisions we are making, the legislation and regulations we are putting forward, are based on the best data we have at hand. We are going to continue to collect data.
"As the premier said yesterday, we will continue to monitor the marketplace and if we have to tweak our legislation going down the road, we will."
Ballard said the province talked to experts, including economists, before drafting its housing plan and that collecting evidence on how it will work is a "key" part of its measures.
Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Progressive Conservative housing critic, said Thursday the government has refused to supply data to back up its plan for a foreign buyers tax.
According to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the tax would not apply to new immigrants who plan to live here, but are instead aimed at speculators who will "never set foot in Ontario."
Wynne announced 16 measures on Thursday that the province says will increase supply, protect renters and make finding a place to live easier and more affordable.
At a news conference on Thursday, Wynne refused to say what she wants to happen to house prices as a result of the housing plan, despite repeated questions from reporters.
A rebate would be available for those who later become citizens or permanent residents, as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students.
The province said the tax will be applied in addition to the land transfer tax. Once it is approved by the legislature, it will take effect on April 21, 2017. Binding agreements of purchase and sale signed on or before April 20, 2017 are not subject to the tax.
The tax will be applied in the following areas: Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York.
With files from Metro Morning