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It Would Appear That The Efforts Of The Housing Industry To Galvanize Opposition To The Harmonization Of The GST And PST As Payable On New Homes, Including The Dire Warnings Of The Building Industry And Land Development Association (BILD) That The Harmonization Would Result In “Single-Detached Tax Increases Ranging From Nearly $12,000 In Windsor To More Than $46,000 In Toronto,” Had Some Of The Desired Effect As Premier Mcguinty’s Budget Provides That New Homes Costing Less Than $400,000 Will Be Subject Only To The Pre-Budget Five Per Cent GST And Homes Costing $400,000 To $500,000 Would Receive Partial Tax Credit.

However, As Reported By Roger Belgrave In The Brampton Guardian, Some Industry Experts Continue To Have Their Concerns, And Mr. Belgrave Quotes Frank Giannone, The President Of The Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), As Stating That The “[O]Ffsetting Measures May Have Mixed Outcomes For Ontario Homebuyers With Different Ramifications For Municipalities Throughout Ontario … This Measure Must Be Examined With Respect To Industry Job Losses, Drag On Provincial Economy And Fair Treatment To Home Purchases Throughout The Province.”

It Should Be Noted That Closing Costs On All Homes, Including Realtor Fees, Legal Services And Home Inspections, Will Climb Because They Had Not Been Subject To Provincial Sales Taxes, Adding, According To Some Estimates, $2,037 To The Purchase Of A $360,000 Home.

The Ontario Government, As A Part Of 25 Significant Changes To Procedures In Its Civil Courts Aimed At Simplifying, Speeding Up And Lowering The Costs Of Resolving Disputes, Is Increasing The Monetary Limit Of The Small Claims Court From $10,000 To $25,000 Effective Jan. 1/10. Additional Changes Include Raising The Monetary Limit For Simplified Procedures From $50,000 To $100,000 (Effective Jan. 1/10), Reducing Pre-Trial Costs And Delays By Requiring Advance Timelines For Sharing Information Between Parties And Limiting Pre-Trial Examinations To One Day, Unless The Parties Or The Court Decide That More Time Is Needed. The Civil Courts Will Now Also Be Subject To The General Principle Of Proportionality – Meaning The Time And Expense Devoted To Any Case Must Reflect What Is At Stake In The Proceedings.

Further To The Alert In Our Autumn 2008 Newsletter, The Exemptions From Seizure For Registered Retirement Savings Plans (Including RRSP's, RRIF's And Dpsps) Are Effective Commencing July 7, 2008. It Should Be Noted That (I) Contributions Made In The 12 Months Prior To The Date Of Bankruptcy Will Be Recovered For The Benefit Of The Bankruptcy Estate For Rrsps In Provinces Without RRSP Exemption Laws (Being BC, AB, ON, NB And NS), (Ii) There Is No Upper Cap On The Amount Of Rrsps That Can Be Protected, And (Iii) The Rrsps Need Not Be In A Locked-In Plan.

On Oct. 6/08, The MOE Published For Public Comment, Proposed Amendments To The Regulations Governing Records Of Site Conditions. The Proposed Amendments Include A Package Of Interconnected Elements Comprising Of (I) Enhanced Record Of Site Condition (Rscs) Integrity, (Ii) New Rules For Completion Of Phase One And Phase Two Environmental Site Assessments For Brownfield Redevelopment, (Iii) A Regulated Timeline To Support The Submission And Filing Process For Rscs (Proposed 30-Day Notice Period For All RSC Submissions), (Iv) Liability Protection And Off-Site Migration From The RSC Property, (V) A Streamlined Risk Assessment Approach, And (Vi) Strengthened Soil And Ground Water Site Condition Standards. Comments Needed To Be Received By The MOE Prior To Feb. 10/09 To Be Considered.