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Congressman Higgins Testifies Before Canada’s House of Commons Urging Relief to Americans Impacted by Underused Housing Tax

Standing Committee on International Trade Studying Impact of the New Tax on Canadian Border Communities

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus, appeared before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to urge the Government of Canada to exclude Americans, who own property in Canada, from collection of the Underused Housing Tax.

Higgins testified during a meeting of the committee held on June 5, 2023, along with other stakeholders.

Testimony by Rep Higgins

During a hearing on Thursday, June 8, 2023, members of the committee heard from U.S. residents who own homes in Canada, Laurie Wright and Robert Ketteman, as well as from Town of Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.

Testimony by U.S. Residents & Fort Erie Mayor Redekop: 

On May 24, 2023 Congressman Higgins met with members of the Trade Committee in his Washington, D.C. office. Subsequently, Tony Baldinelli, the Member of Parliament representing Niagara Falls, Ontario won approval for the following motion, initiating a study on the impact of the tax:

“That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertake a study on the Underused Housing Tax, which has become an unintentional non-tariff trade irritant with Canada's largest trading partner, the United States of America; that this study focus on the Underused Housing Tax impacts on Canadian border communities; that the committee invite relevant departmental officials from Global Affairs Canada and the Department of Finance, as well as United States Congressman Brian Higgins and/or other experts the committee deems relevant; that the committee hold two meetings; and that the committee report its findings and recommendations to the House of Commons.”

Over 400 U.S. residents with property in Canada have responded to an online survey posted by Rep. Higgins. Approximately 60% live in Western New York but many live across the country including a large response from Florida residents. Of those responding, nearly 30 percent have owned their Canadian property for over 50 years, with close to 40 percent owning a home in Canada for between 20-49 years.

In recent weeks a bipartisan letter signed by Members of Congress representing districts across eight states advocated for the U.S. Secretary of State to work with the Government of Canada to find a solution before the tax is due under the extended deadline of October 31, 2023. 

The International Trade Committee will continue to collect written testimony through June 15, 2023, and then develop a report.  Full-length recordings of the testimony and questioning during the meetings are available at: