Leading voices from Canada's real estate industry have joined together supporting efforts by Metrolinx to improve transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) through dedicated funding. However, the industry is greatly concerned about the impacts of a new parking tax being considered by the Province of Ontario as recommended in Metrolinx's recent report.
In response to the Metrolinx report, REALpac Chairman Stephen Taylor said, "We support efforts by the government to improve transit. However, when it comes to funding, everyone should be treated equally and fairly. This parking tax unfairly targets only one industry."
On Monday 27 May 2013 Ontario's primary transit agency, Metrolinx, issued a report to Ontario Premier Wynne outlining a plan - The Big Move - for a Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) public transit build out. The plan proposes funding come from four new taxes including a new parking tax for off-street non-residential parking at an average rate of $.25 per parking spot per day. However, depending on how the new parking tax is implemented, preliminary estimates indicate it could increase operating costs from $4.00 to $7.00 per square foot depending on a properties value, totaling $350 million per year.
Industry concerns over a new parking tax are predicated on the facts that:
- A parking tax will have a negative impact on businesses and economic development in the GTHA.
- A parking tax unfairly targets only one industry.
- A parking tax is a hidden tax paid by the supplier of parking and their tenants and therefore has no impact on transit use behavior or environmental benefits.
- A parking tax will be difficult and costly to implement and maintain.
- A parking tax is double taxation, as parking spots are already taxed as part of the value of a property, contributing to property taxes paid.
- Municipal bylaws establish minimum parking requirements.
- A parking levy on free parking is a hidden tax payable by tenants of shopping centres, offices and industrial facilities and not by users. Therefore, it will have no impact on reducing congestion.
Ms. Patti Parente, International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) Chair of Government Relations, concluded, "We will continue to work with government towards improved and dedicated transit funding. Funding should be broad-based as everyone must contribute equally to solve our congestion problem. A parking tax unfairly targets a select segment of the economy which is grossly punitive and will do nothing to alter driving behaviour."
The organizations and trade associations opposing the new parking tax represent well over $180 billion in assets in Canada and include; the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), the Building Owners and Managers Association Toronto (BOMA Toronto), the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association - Toronto Chapter (NAIOP), and the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).
Development and construction of commercial and residential real estate buildings, and subsequently their daily operations, directly creates thousands of jobs and adds tremendous value to the Canadian and GTHA GDP. In addition, the sector provides workspace for millions of Canadians and places for Canadians to shop, eat and play.
About the Real Property Association of Canada
REALpac is Canada's premier industry association for investment real property leaders. Our mission is to collectively influence public policy, to educate government and the public, and to ensure stable and beneficial real estate capital and property markets in Canada. To learn more about REALpac and see a list of our member companies visit http://www.realpac.ca/?page=OurMembers.
REALpac members currently own in excess of $180 Billion CAD in real estate assets located in the major centres across Canada. Members include real estate investment trusts, publicly traded and large private companies, banks, brokerages, crown corporations, investment dealers, life companies, lenders, and pension funds.
About BOMA Toronto
The Building Owners and Managers Association of the Greater Toronto Area (BOMA Toronto) is a not-for-profit organization established in 1917. BOMA Toronto's membership includes over 750 real estate professionals, representing 80 per cent of all commercial and industrial real estate companies in the GTA and beyond. These individuals are all leading building owners, property and facility managers, developers, leasing agents, and service providers. BOMA Toronto helps members ensure tenant satisfaction, maximize profits, and enhance asset values for building owners and investors through market intelligence, education, networking, and government advocacy.
About ICSC - International Council of Shopping Centres
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping centre industry. Its more than 58,000 members in over 90 countries include shopping centre owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. As the global industry trade association, ICSC links with more than 25 national and regional shopping centre councils throughout the world.
About NAIOP - Toronto Chapter
NAIOP is the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed‐use real estate. NAIOP comprises 15,500 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit www.naiop.org.
The Greater Toronto Chapter of NAIOP, founded in 1977, has become the premier ʺmeeting placeʺ for a diverse and influential mix of the commercial real estate industryʹs top companies and top performers.
With more than 1,400 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development Institute/Ontario is the voice of the land development, home building and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area. We are proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.