A new federal anti-dumping tariff is driving up the cost of drywall, making building a home even more expensive.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) imposed the tax on Sept. 6, 2016 following a complaint from CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc. The company alleged U.S. producers were dumping product into the Canadian market.
Now, any board imported for use in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon and Northwest Territories are seeing an increase of up to 276 per cent.
“We’re not talking about two per cent here and three per cent here, we’re talking about regulators slapping 100 and 200 per cent increases on the cost of home building,” Casey Edge with the Victoria Residential Builders’ Association said.
“We’re trying to figure out, with all of this talk about housing affordability, where does the rubber hit the road?”
In a statement, the CBSA defends its decision:
“Under Canadian law, producers of goods in Canada have the right to ask for protection from unfairly priced imports, such as dumped goods. The legislation is intended to provide a level playing field for Canadian producers facing unfair trade practices such as dumping from foreign sources. The duties are imposed to offset the effects of dumping on the Canadian market thereby creating this level playing field.”
But contractors say they are going to have no choice, but to pass this onto the buyers. In some cases, putting projects on hold or pricing out prospective buyers altogether.
“Super frustrating right now,” says drywaller Adrian Lise. “I pride myself on communication with my clients. It’s really difficult to go out to them and say ‘I don’t know exactly what you’re looking at.'”
As for home builders with contracts already in place, they’re either having to back out of the deal or eat the additional costs.
An appeal to the tariff is underway, but there will be no decision made until December.