“Supply shortages and higher costs for drywall are the last thing we need in the already vulnerable Alberta market,” observes Carol Oxtoby, a developer in Calgary, AB. “We should be concerned that smaller companies may be forced into bankruptcy, as existing contracts may force them to fully absorb cost increases. As the Alberta economy seeks to recover, a duty that harms businesses and damages affordability for home buyers is a major step in the wrong direction. Worst of all, the impacts of higher prices and shortages will be felt severely in Fort McMurray, affecting the rebuild there so important after the fires.”
“You already have a high-priced housing market in Greater Vancouver and the lower mainland,” notes Nathan Stone, a builder in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. “No one can afford further increases to construction costs. This increase will have a negative impact on new home buyers and homeowners’ renovation projects. Many of our drywall companies are at serious risk with contracts already in place.”
“Although the duty is on imports to our Western provinces, this isn’t just an issue for the residential construction industry in the West,” says Bob Finnigan, national president of the CHBA and builder in Toronto. “This is quickly becoming a national issue. We are already seeing ripple effects on price and warnings of supply restrictions in Ontario as uncertainty about the supply of drywall grows and Ontario plants potentially start to have to supplying the Western markets. As we try to keep house prices contained in the GTA, increases in drywall prices and potential shortages will only make matters worse.”
The CBSA decision on this came with an immediate imposition of these extremely high provisional duties. While the process is ongoing and final determination is still months away, the negative impacts on industry and consumers of the duty are being felt now.
“While we respect the process, suffering companies cannot wait [until January] to see the final decision on this,” says Lee. “Even if duties are reduced or eliminated in the end of the review process, or if we have to request a hearing into the public interest because the duties are upheld – the damage to industry will be done. In the meantime, efforts to reduce house prices and protect affordability, as well as those to support the economy as it seeks to recover, are being undermined severely.”
- 30 -
Chief Executive Officer