Ontario NDP pledges to allow property tax deferral for seniors if elected

CHATHAM, Ont. – Ontario New Democrats would implement property tax deferrals for seniors if elected next month, Leader Andrea Horwath said Friday.

Residents age 55 and older would qualify for the program that would allow the province to pay their taxes in the meantime, she said. The owner would then reimburse the province when he sold his house.

“We want seniors to be able to afford to stay in their homes longer, so we have a plan to help with property taxes so seniors who are at a financial crossroads can offload that burden,” Horwath said during a campaign stop in Chatham-Kent, Ont.

The measure would save about $375 a month for someone paying $4,500 a year in taxes, Horwath said.

The program is part of the party’s plan to cut costs for seniors.

This plan also includes $1 billion in home care with the goal of allowing seniors to stay at home longer.

If a resident dies before repaying their deferred taxes, it will be dealt with in their estate, Horwath said.

The measure is not a death tax, she said.

“Not at all, when this situation occurs, it would be part of the succession process,” she said.

The proposed program is another tool to help seniors cope with rising property values ​​across the province, the NDP leader said.

“In some cases, it’s the very hurdle that people have to be able to manage financially to stay in their own home,” Horwath said.

The program would allow seniors to use that money to pay for other expenses, especially with the cost of living and rising inflation, Horwath said.

The party said evidence from a similar program in British Columbia shows older people will retain “substantial equity” in their homes, ensuring they can pass it on to their children.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 13, 2022.

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Penny D. Jackson