New Federal Cabinet Ministers important to rental housing issue
On November 20, Prime Minister Trudeau introduced his new cabinet. This sets out some background on the five Ministers who are of particular relevance for Canada’s rental housing providers.
Minister of Finance – Bill Morneau
Bill Morneau is returning as the Minister of Finance. He has been the Minister and the M.P. for Toronto Centre since 2015. Over the past term, Minister Morneau has overseen an increase in the income tax rate on the top bracket, changes in the taxation of small businesses, an expansion of the CPP and four deficit budgets. He and the government also considered, but rejected, an increase in the taxes on capital gains.
The key issue for rental housing will be the Liberals’ promised review of “government spending and tax expenditures to ensure that wealthy Canadians do not benefit from unfair tax breaks.” That effectively promises a consultation of possible revisions to the capital gains tax regime (and other tax measures). It could include a review of the capital gains exemption for principal residences, perhaps setting a limit on that exemption.
CFAA will work with Minister Morneau on capital gains taxes on rental housing, and other tax issues.
Minister of National Revenue – Diane Lebouthillier
Diane Lebouthillier is returning as the Minister of National Revenue. She has been the M.P. for Gaspésie–Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, since 2015. Previously, she earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Moncton, and spent over 20 years working in social services.
CFAA will renew our work with Minister Lebouthillier’s office, seeking improvements in CRA’s tax treatment of building repairs.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development – Ahmed Hussen
Ahmed Hussen has been appointed the new Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, responsible for CMHC. He has been the M.P. for York South—Weston (in Toronto) since 2015, and was previously the Minister of Immigration.
After immigrating to Canada in 1993 at age 17, Minister Hussen finished high school and worked with the Hamilton Social Services Department. He went on to become the president of the Regent Park Community Council, and helped to secure the revitalization project of Regent Park, advocating for its residents. He has also served as National President of the Canadian Somali Congress and on an income security task force as chaired by the Toronto City Summit Alliance.
After receiving his law degree from University of Ottawa, Minister Hussen practiced criminal defence, immigration and refugee, and human rights law.
CFAA works with CMHC and the Minister about housing policy and housing subsidy programs, including the Rental Construction Financing Initiative and the new Canada Housing Benefit. The Minister may also have some influence over any attempts to increase capital gains taxes on rental housing property.
Minister of Natural Resources – Seamus O’Regan
Seamus O’Regan has been appointed the new Minister of Natural Resources. He has been the M.P. for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, since 2015, and was previously the Minister of Indigenous Services. He has held many political staff positions within the federal and Newfoundland governments, and co-hosted CTV’s Canada AM for 10 years.
NRCan is important to rental housing providers because of its work on building alterations and retrofits, seeking reduced energy use and GHG emissions. CFAA will work on those issues with Minister O’Regan.
Minister of Environment and Climate Change – Jonathan Wilkinson
Jonathan Wilkinson has been appointed the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change. He has been the M.P. for North Vancouver, British Columbia, since 2015, and was previously the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
As a young man, Minister Wilkinson was a Rhodes Scholar. During more than 20 years in the private sector, he has worked for many companies focused on green technologies, providing him with experience in energy and environmental technology. His previous experience includes CEO and other senior positions with QuestAir Technologies, BioteQ Environmental Technologies and Nexterra.
CFAA will work on climate change policies and their impact on rental housing buildings with Minister Wilkinson.