Harper announces new, permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit, additional measures to help apprentices

PRIME Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday announced that a re-elected Conservative government would introduce a new, permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit, creating and supporting well-paying jobs and helping Canadians maintain and increase the value of their homes.

“For most Canadians, the family home is their biggest financial investment and the place where they raise their children, relax with friends and family, and enjoy their golden years,” said Harper.  “A permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit will help make it more affordable for Canadians to ensure their home meets their needs.”

He noted that, in addition to reducing the costs of maintaining a home, the Home Renovation Tax Credit will also support local jobs and ensure consumers benefit from professional contractors. “The Home Renovation Tax Credit has been recognized as having helped Canadian consumers avoid the risks of the underground economy, while at the same time reducing their taxes,” said Harper. “We will continue our proven record of helping Canadian families in ways that tangibly improve their lives.”

The Home Renovation Tax Credit, originally established by the Harper Government in 2009 as a temporary measure, was a resounding success. About one in every three households took advantage of this program, saving more than three million Canadians, on average, more than $700 each.  It also pumped $4.3 billion into Canada’s economy, creating and supporting well-paying jobs. A re-elected Harper Government will make this tax credit permanent, available each year for substantial home renovation expenses between $1,000 and $5,000.

“Our Conservative government has cut taxes and increased benefits for Canadian families, so that Canadians keep more of their hard-earned money,” Harper said. “We believe that Canadians are best-placed to decide how to invest in the needs and priorities of their families.”

Harper used the opportunity to hit out at his rivals. “Justin just doesn’t understand how the Home Renovation Tax Credit will help Canadian families and support Canadian jobs, while Mulcair has voted against every single Conservative tax cut,” he said. “Only a re-elected Conservative government will continue with a low-tax plan to help Canadian families.”

A day earlier, in Laval, Quebec, Harper announced a plan to expand and extend its support for apprentices, their families and the businesses that hire aspiring tradespeople.

“Apprenticeships play a vital role in our post-secondary education system and help provide skills and knowledge to grow our economy,” said Harper.  “That’s why our government has provided incentives for people to enter trades and tax credits for businesses to hire aspiring tradespeople.”

The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit was introduced by the Harper Government in 2006 and provides a 10 percent, non-refundable tax credit to businesses on wages paid to qualifying apprentices in the first two years of their contract.  As a result of Monday’s announcement, the maximum credit will increase from $2,000 to $2,500 and will be extended to the third and fourth years of apprenticeship training.

Harper noted that over 11,700 businesses and 67,900 apprentices benefited from tax credit in 2013 – five times as many as in 2006.  The extension of the tax credit will help encourage more apprentices to successfully complete their training, and will ensure they find well paid jobs.

“While registration for apprenticeship programs is growing, our plan to expand and extend this tax credit will help even more apprentices acquire the skills to find well-paying jobs,” Harper said, noting that Canada needs more skilled tradespeople to fill available positions.