Removing GST/PST a ‘game changer’ for purpose-built rental housing development

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Dream Unlimited Corp. says it will  deliver 5,000 new purpose-built rental units in urban centres across Canada.

Officials made the announcement following the federal government’s decision  to remove GST from rental housing construction..

According to Dream Unlimited, there will be opportunities for the development industry to partner with all levels of government, not-for-profit and private sector organizations to collectively address the affordability crisis by increasing the amount of market and affordable rental units.

“With the introduction of new legislation formalizing the removal of GST, Dream is positioned to move forward on 5,000 net new purpose-built rental apartment units in Ottawa, Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto collectively,” said Michael J. Cooper, president and chief responsible officer, Dream Unlimited. “This legislation is a game changer for the development industry, and more importantly for Canadians.

“The housing crisis has impacted every urban centre from coast to coast. What this legislation unlocks is our ability to get shovels into the ground quickly at a time when it’s never been more critical to build new homes.”

Each of the sites identified by Dream currently have approvals in place.

In the next six months, shovel ready projects will move ahead, including 1,350 units, including 1,010 units of which 43 per cent – equivalent to 438 units – will be dedicated as affordable.

By 2025, Dream will be able to build another 3,700 units in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, and Saskatoon.

Substantial progress in Ottawa is largely due to a partnership with the Multifaith Housing Initiative of Ottawa (MHI), a Canadian non-profit charitable organization founded in 2002 that is a coalition of 80 faith communities. As a result, an integrated rental community will include affordable housing, transit connectivity and unprecedented sustainability targets.

Located on the Library Parcel of LeBreton Flats, the development is an innovative, net-zero, mixed-income community that includes 608 rental units, 41 per cent of which will be dedicated as affordable. Dream and MHI will also develop integrated programs and support systems, creating a sense of belonging, fostering wellbeing and paving the path for upward mobility for all residents in a sustainable, inclusive community in a transit-oriented development.

“Multifaith Housing Initiative strongly supports the legislation tabled by the federal government on Thursday to eliminate the GST from new purpose-built rentals and encourages all provincial governments to proceed with the exemption of the PST,” said Suzanne Le, executive director, Multifaith Housing Initiative. “The elimination of GST/PST will allow projects and innovative partnerships between private and non-profit sector, like the one at LeBreton Flats between Dream and Multifaith Housing Initiative to proceed and produce a much needed 608 units of purpose-built rental.”

“Partnerships are essential to scale the delivery of affordable housing and to strengthen capacity in the non-profit sector in our country.”

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