Building Magazine


Cost of new homes in B.C. will increase because of new national rebar tariff, warns Contractors Association

Homeowners can expect the cost of buying a new home to increase because of a new national tariff on rebar, predicts the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of BC (ICBA), which services and represents 1,200 members in B.C.’s multi-family residential and Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) construction sectors. “B.C.’s housing market is already unaffordable for many British Columbians,” said Philip Hochstein, president, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. “This new tariff will make an already difficult situation worse for young families.”

Rebar currently accounts for six per cent of the total cost of constructing a high-rise residential tower. The newly imposed tariff of 25 per cent could increase to as much as 58 per cent should the Canadian International Trade Tribunal decide in favour of foreign-owned eastern steel mills.

“B.C. home buyers simply cannot afford this additional tariff,” Neil Chrystal, CEO, Polygon Homes LTD. “A major component of our construction costs is being unfairly affected and shouldn’t be.”

ICBA is intervening in this case and asking the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) to exempt B.C. from this tariff because:

  • B.C. is an isolated market unserved by Canadian rebar producers;
  • B.C.’s rebar market is supported by U.S. suppliers (60 per cent) and non-NAFTA imports (40 per cent);
  • Having these tariffs in B.C. will not protect jobs in eastern Canada as the foreign-owned eastern steel mills cannot service B.C. It will simply inflate the price of the U.S. supply of rebar in that province.

The national tariff placed on rebar was introduced by the federal government as a result of a complaint by foreign-owned eastern Canadian steel mills. The CITT will hold a hearing in Ottawa on December 15 and is expected to make a determination in January.

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