Canada’s second-largest home improvement sector is hoping to receive $2 billion in stimulus funding from the federal government in the coming years.
The federal Department of Finance announced on Wednesday it is opening up a new fund for home improvement companies to borrow money to cover their debts.
Home Improvement Canada, a non-profit that works with Canadians across the country, said it has applied for about $1 billion in new federal stimulus funds to help its companies, which have to borrow to pay bills and maintain their buildings.
“We’ve had some great success,” said Lisa Beaudry, the group’s chief executive officer.
“But the reality is we’re not in a position to get the financing we need to be able to do our job.”
Home Improvement was established in 1984 to make homeownership more affordable for Canadians.
It now operates a network of more than 6,000 businesses across Canada, with more than 2,500 employees.
The group was formed in 1984 after an avalanche of home improvements in Ontario and Quebec in the early 1990s killed more than 300 people.
In 2013, the province was forced to pay back its first $7 billion of debt and another $1.4 billion to the group.
The province’s first capital projects were completed in 2005 and 2010, when the province raised property taxes and the value of home equity loans was halved.
The government also began to invest in new infrastructure, including the Metrolinx light rail and the new GO train.
In 2018, the Ontario government announced it would increase property taxes on new homes to a new 2 per cent, which was one of the first provincial increases in decades.
Beaudy said the province’s debt has now fallen to a level where it is now manageable.
“This is really a positive for the industry because it means the province can now provide that financing and that’s a great thing,” she said.
“The fact that it’s going to be a capital project to support the industry is a great positive.”
Home improvement companies in British Columbia have seen their fortunes skyrocket since the provincial government announced its new stimulus plan.
The province, with the third-largest population in Canada behind Quebec and Ontario, has the fourth-largest share of the nation’s home improvements industry.
Beaudry said the B.C. government will also provide incentives to companies that choose to borrow from the new fund, such as a $50,000 loan or a $25,000 discount on the price of a new home.
“I’m really excited that we can get this support,” Beaud, who was born and raised in British Colombia, said.
“We’ve seen the industry thrive, and I’m really hoping that we’ll see it grow.”