- “tax changes undertaken outside the [annual] budget process make it more difficult to ensure a coherent and consistent approach to fiscal management”
- unclear effect on federal revenue (the Parliamentary Budget Officer assessed costs at $55 to $67 million in the first five years; officials from the Department of Finance stated it could be as high as $90 million a year) — Mr. Aldag later referred to the bill as a “deluxe model”, suggesting perhaps that it was too broad in terms of the number and kind (commercial and residential) of eligible properties
- the cost to the government of administering the tax credit.
A new concern was also raised: The lack of consultation and collaboration on the measures in the bill with provinces and territories, as well as municipal and Indigenous governments.
This last point is a good one, especially as, in our harmonized income tax regime, the provinces and territories would end up incurring a (small) part of the cost of any tax credit claimed.
As I see it, while this question might be interesting for further study, it is largely beside the point. Some projects for rehabilitation of historic buildings might go ahead without the tax incentive, but they might not be as large or comprehensive as they would have been with access to the incentive. And without the accountability measures that go along with historic tax credits projects almost certainly wouldn’t be as respectful of heritage features.
- the federal government introduce legislation to, among other things, provide a statutory underpinning for the protection for federal heritage buildings; bring federal Crown corporations (like Canada Post and the CBC) under the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO) policy and purview; and ensure that federal actions do not adversely effect national historic sites or properties and buildings designated by provinces and municipalities (gold star for that one!)
- the government adopt a “heritage first” policy requiring federal departments and agencies to, when appropriate, give preference to existing heritage buildings when considering leasing or purchasing space
- the government restore the funding level for the National Cost-Sharing Program to a minimum of $10 million a year (this program, for work on national historic sites, is chronically oversubscribed and is scheduled to return to a measly $1 million in funding next April)
- the government consider supporting a main streets initiative modelled on Main Street America to encourage public and private investment in commercial historic buildings in rural areas and small cities (Main Street America is a program of the National Main Street Center, an offshoot of the National Trust for Historic Preservation)
- the government support an Indigenous-led initiative that would be responsible for determining how places that are important to Canada’s Indigenous peoples should be protected and preserved, and for enhancing the capacity of Indigenous communities to preserve places important to them
And then there is:
- the federal government establish a tax credit for the restoration and preservation of buildings listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places
|Hon. Catherine McKenna|