The final days of the Home Renovation Tax Credit are stressing out renovators

When most construction workers, contractors, homeowners and big box stores think of ripping out walls, breaking up foundation, new plumbing removing windows and exposing home interiors to the outside, they all seem to agree on the perfect time of year to get the job done – January.

Actually, no they don’t. January is smack dab in the middle of the freezing, unforgivable dead of winter and everyone is still dealing with the lingering financial effects of the holidays.

That fact hasn’t slowed the huge boom in renovations that many homeowners are scrambling to get finished before the qualifying time period expires. Statistics Canada has said that the larger home renovation stores have seen rises in sales while other retail sectors have seen dips in profits.

The Home Renovation Tax Credit program offers tax credits of up to $1,350 for homeowners completing renovations that cost between anywhere $1,000 and $10,000. Any work must be completed and all supplies must be purchased by February 1st of this year.

Some construction and contracting companies have been able to keep workers on full-time this year instead of laying them off during the season lull during winter, but companies like window frame maker Acrylon Plastics wonder how sustainable this boom actually is.

“My concern is that there’s no momentum behind this recovery – we’ll return to where we were a year ago where demand drops off and people throughout the industry get laid off,” CEO Craig McIntosh told the Globe and Mail last week.

Along with other industry leaders, McIntosh was lobbying to have the expiry date of the credit period pushed back by at least six months to give workers and the market a break. However, this doesn’t look too likely as the federal Ministry of Finance said last week that the program wasn’t cheap, and that the government would stand firm on the set date of the HRTC expiry.

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