CELA has written to all federal MPs seeking their support for a radon mitigation tax credit.
We continue to place a high priority on radon, a proven cause of lung cancer with many people directly affected or at risk. Radon can be easily corrected via federally-approved mitigation techniques. But despite a lot of effort on public outreach, awareness is low about this significant public health risk.
Over 600,000 homes across Canada are estimated to have above-guideline radon levels. That’s a lot of houses. It turns out many of them are in the ridings of 93 Members of Parliament with sixteen of those ridings of particular concern. But the elevated risk is nation-wide.
“We calculated the number of houses using the results of Health Canada’s cross-Canada survey of radon levels,” stated Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher with CELA. Health Canada’s results are reported by provincially-defined district health regions which we compared with federal riding boundaries. “We found that half of all federal ridings contain homes with above-guideline radon levels. In 93 ridings, 10% of homes have above-guideline radon levels, and 16 of those have more than 20% above-guideline homes,” Cooper noted.
Our letter to all MPs includes the list of 93 MPs and their ridings. “We asked all MPs to support a radon tax credit but especially those 93, which we also posted on-line, with their email addresses,” stated Cooper.
Radon mitigation can cost up to $3000 per house. A federal tax credit is the logical next step in Canada’s otherwise impressive National Radon Program. It will send a strong signal to Canadians to take this issue more seriously and will help make radon mitigation more affordable.
On the financial implications, at a minimum, a tax credit will be revenue-neutral. More likely, it will result in net tax revenues to both the federal government and the provinces.
We estimate that an aggressive program to mitigate 80% of above-guideline homes within five years would result in a net annual benefit in the order of $1.6M to $9.8M in federal tax revenues and $8.2M to $49.7M to the provinces.
We also calculated the more modest revenues arising if 20% of above-guideline homes are mitigated over five years. Detailed calculations are on-line here.
Additional benefits will arise with job creation for mitigation firms as well as long-term savings in the direct and indirect health care costs of lung cancer. We also think the tax credit should be available to homeowners and small landlords who are an important part of the rental housing market and often provide units in basements where radon levels can be higher.
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For more information:
Kathleen Cooper, Senior Researcher firstname.lastname@example.org 705-341-2488 (cell)