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Affordable Housing: The BC Construction Monitor

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It’s been an active and interesting few months on the housing file in British Columbia. There was a sharp step-back in sales in Metro Vancouver over the summer, in the wake of the retroactive 15% tax on foreign real estate purchasers. But it’s not at all clear that the long-term impact of this and other recent housing-related actions will be all that significant.

The problem is that we’re trying to regulate – and, ironically, tax – our way to affordable housing; and with an almost exclusive focus on decreasing demand. But even if we brought foreign investment in Metro Vancouver real estate to a full stop, what about the tens of thousands of new households that will be formed through population growth in the years to come?

Among the ranks of those struggling to find acceptable housing here are a growing number of pro-housing “Yes-in-my-Backyard” or YIMBY activists. And they are calling for an at least equal focus on the crucial supply side of the equation.
In this Monitor, we detail how intense the supply-demand imbalance has become, and we identify some of the ways of moderating it. Certainly a reduction in the large municipally imposed regulatory burden has to be part of the solution, since research demonstrates that housing supply is particularly sensitive to added delays and uncertainty. Read more

How unions got $85 million from the Trudeau government to help them recruit construction workers

Labour Day usually results in a host of self-congratulatory press releases from unions trumpeting their importance in ensuring Canadians do not toil away in factories reminiscent of the London of Charles Dickens.  Rather than debate whether that would be the reality without unions, most Canadians are happy to give labour its day and spend a long weekend at the cottage.

However, when overstated union claims of their importance start to impact public policy and the economy, then it is time for Canadians to take notice.

One such example lies buried in the 2016 Federal Budget, which promised $85.4 million over five years to support union-based apprenticeship training.  While investments in apprenticeship training are critical to address the looming labour shortages in the construction sector, this particular investment completely ignores current employment realities.

The issue is simple: other than Quebec, the vast majority of employment in construction is in the open shop sector, wherein union membership is not a condition of employment.  For example, in Saskatchewan 15% of the construction workforce is unionized versus 85% in the open shop sector.  In Alberta, fewer than 20% of the construction workforce is represented by a building trades union.  In New Brunswick, over 75% of the workforce is open shop.  These figures are consistent across the country, yet the Federal Government has chosen to give union training centres $85.4 million. Read more

Additional grants available for your Registered Educations Savings Plan (RESP)

Keeping up with all the changes to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) since 1997 is a difficult task to say the least. You are now able to contribute up to $50,000 per child and the Federal Government will contribute up to $7,200.

Many additional educational programs qualify in addition to traditional University and College degrees. In order to maximize the value of the RESP, comprehensive planning is required.

One benefit available to residents of B.C. is the Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG). Unlike the Federal Government Grant, this is not based on how much you contribute. However, you do need to apply for this. In order to qualify, the following criteria must be met:

  • Child born in 2006 or later

  • You and the child are residents of B.C.

  • The child is a beneficiary of an RESP with a participating institution

For children born between 2006 and 2009, the BCTESG is now available. Depending on the year of birth, the last day to apply may be as soon as August 14, 2018. Start the process early to ensure you are dealing with a qualified institution that is able to access this grant for you.

Article Courtesy

Creed Capital Management

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