Scroll through this document to read each of AREA's positions.
Many provinces and municipalities in Canada have turned to the implementation of a Land Transfer Tax (Home Buyers’ Tax) as a source of revenue. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador all have a provincial land transfer tax. Municipal land transfer taxes are in place in Toronto, Montreal and several Nova Scotia municipalities. Were a provincial or municipal Land Transfer Tax ever implemented in Alberta, it would:
What AREA Advocacy is Doing
While provincially there has not been an expressed interest in land transfer tax in Alberta, the power to generate additional revenues from taxation, along with the specific format those taxes would take, are common topics in sustainability discussions between municipalities and the provincial government. In 2016, the Service Alberta Minister confirmed in a letter to AREA that it is not planning to introduce a land transfer tax.Under Alberta’s Municipal Government Act, municipalities’ revenue sources are largely limited to property taxes and user fees, with the exception of some special levies to fund specific applications. Amendments were made to the Municipal Government Act (Bill 20) in spring 2015 and additional amendments related to taxation authority are expected to be reviewed in the fall 2015 legislature sitting. Changes within this Act could provide municipalities with the authority to implement new taxes, including a municipal land transfer tax. Alberta REALTORS® understand that predictable, sustainable revenue is necessary for large cities to provide necessary infrastructure for their constituents; in that vein, AREA Advocacy encourages the province to explore alternative tax levers for municipalities.In addition, the platform on which the government ran suggests the province will be continuing work with Edmonton and Calgary to ensure the city charter process is developed, which offers another potential opportunity for the introduction of land transfer taxes. REALTORS® are concerned that Edmonton and Calgary will request that the province provide additional municipal taxation authorities, including the ability to implement land transfer taxes, which could easily spread to other Alberta municipalities. AREA Advocacy is asking municipal politicians to support Alberta REALTORS® in protecting consumers by advocating against any future land transfer tax/fee proposals.
The IssueUnder Alberta’s Torrens System of land registration, the Government has custody of all original titles, documents and plans and has the legal responsibility for the validity and security of all registered land title information. The Government guarantees the accuracy of title and an Assurance Fund is available to anyone who suffers loss due to errors on title or fraudulent activities. Ensuring the integrity of the system’s data and the continued application of the Assurance Fund are the foremost concerns to Alberta REALTORS® as Service Alberta reviews methods for modernizing and improving the delivery of land titles and registry services.What AREA Advocacy is DoingAREA Advocacy is asking the government to move towards 24/7 access to Alberta's Land Titles System.
The IssueThe CSA Group has presented draft standards for home and property inspections for public consultation. Many home inspectors feel the proposed Standard of Practice will reduce consumer protection due to anticipated time and cost increases needed to comply with the proposed regulation. The CSA Group believes these standards would create a consistent baseline of practice, giving both consumers and inspectors increased protection; clarify consumer expectations of inspectors, resulting in fewer claims and claims which are easier to defend; and potentially lead to a cost reduction of liability insurance, savings which could be passed on to the consumer. What AREA Advocacy is Doing Alberta REALTORS® support initiatives undertaken to improve the standards of practice in the industry and increase consumer protection. Alberta REALTORS® believe a cost/benefit balance is required. Standards should promote professionalism in the industry and leverage the value of inspections, while ensuring practices remain reasonable and affordable for buyers and do not impede or create unnecessary delays in real estate transactions. In December 2014, AREA submitted a letter to the CSA Group outlining these key considerations, in response to the CSA Group’s public consultation process.
The IssueStandards and guidelines for the remediation of properties formerly used as illegal drug operations are paramount for the safety of current and future homeowners. To date, there are no consistent air quality and remediation standards in place in Alberta for properties previously used as illegal grow-ops. What AREA Advocacy is DoingOn behalf of Alberta REALTORS®, AREA commissioned a study and report that outlines how provincial standards could be implemented for the assessment and rehabilitation of properties seized due to illicit drug operations. In May 2014, the Government of Alberta accepted final recommendations for future legislation to combat the risks and damages caused by illegal grow-ops. AREA Advocacy participated in government-led consultation meetings to work towards these recommendations and a “Grow-Op Free Alberta”.
Meet your 2017 Board of Directors.