Canadian leaders ask for cost-benefit analysis to be conducted by September
Congressman Brian Higgins welcomed a call by 34 Canadian members of Parliament for a cost-benefit analysis of the underused housing tax (UHT). Higgins has been vocal in his opposition to the new tax imposed by the government of Canada, which he said negatively impacts Americans who have long-owned cottages or second homes in Canada.
Higgins said, “The relationship between the U.S. and Canada, particularly for communities on either side of the border, is deeply intertwined. Imposition of the underused housing tax feels like our friends have turned their backs on us despite longstanding goodwill. We hope this can reach a conclusion where cross-border neighbors are held harmless.”
The letter, led by Tony Baldinelli, the member of Parliament representing Niagara Falls, Ontario, notes that “Canadian and foreign property owners and concerned, confused, uncertain and anxious about this new UHT and their tax obligations.”
The letter goes on to say, “While the intent of this new tax is to address Canada’s housing crisis in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, its impacts are catching many Canadian and foreign property owners by surprise in Canada’s rural and agricultural areas, as well as in Canadian border communities, such as those in South Niagara.”
The signers ask the parliamentary budget officer to publish the findings of the analysis by Sept. 18, noting the urgency of receiving the assessment before the underused housing tax filing deadline of Oct. 31.
In May, Higgins met with members of Parliament who serve on the House of Commons Standing Committee for International Trade to discuss the UHT. Subsequently, in June, the committee held hearings to discuss the tax. Higgins and Western New York residents were among the witnesses providing testimony.
Higgins serves as co-chair of the Canada-US Interparliamentary Exchange and the Northern Border Caucus. In Congress, Higgins serves on the House tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, including its subcommittee on trade. The congressman’s Western New York district, which includes the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, borders Southern Ontario.