A Toronto housing developer is praising the federal government’s decision to remove the GST from new rental projects as a way to address Canada’s housing crisis.

Last week, Ottawa announced it would remove the goods and services tax on new rental developments as part of new measures aimed at reducing the cost of living.

Adrian Rocca, CEO of the rental development firm Fitzrovia, believes the tax removal amounts to savings of about 10 per cent of development costs after rebates.

“(The announcement) was really the bold, decisive action that we needed,” he told BNN Bloomberg in a television interview. “It was really well-received by our industry. We’d love to get a little bit more help, but it was a very good first step.”

Rocca suggested property tax abatements from municipalities and development charge rebates would further help the industry.

“It’s going to be a continued partnership across all three levels of government, so it’s the federal government (and) the province stepping in to help municipalities,” he said.

Rocca said he is also hoping the GST rebate expands to developments already under construction.

“Margins of existing projects are under significant duress and those projects have the ability to flip to condos, which we don’t want. We want to keep those as a purposeful rental,” he said.