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Work perk: Guelph engineering firm helps employees buy a home

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These days, getting into the real estate market is no easy feat. But what if your employer could help?

Crozier: Consulting Engineers, which recently opened an office in Guelph, is offering employees up to $20,000 towards a down payment on their first home.

While the work perk is helping attract and retain talent, it's also helping employees get into the housing market.

The first-time home buyers' assistance program works in conjunction with the federal government's home buyers' plan. In the case of Crozier, as long as an employee has worked there for over a year, the company will deposit $10,000 plus 10 per cent of their base salary into the employee's RRSP account tax-free as a gift.

"Anybody making $100,000 will get the full $20,000 benefit and that's where it caps out," says company president Nick Mocan. "On a home that's $650,000, the down payment is $40,000. So our benefit essentially cuts that in half."

He says the program was created after noticing the troubling trend of employees being priced out of towns or cities where company offices are located.

"The housing market was just running away from them," said Mocan. "The common issue is the down payment. Coming up with the cold, hard cash."

That was the case for Brendan Walton, who works as a project manager at Crozier. He was priced out of Milton, where Crozier has an office. But thanks to the company and federal government, Walton was able to get a boost and buy a home located just a short walk from Crozier's new downtown Guelph location.

"I didn't really believe it I guess," Walton told CTV News.

After a government-imposed 90-day waiting period, first time home buyers at the company, like Walton, have access to the money in full that's put into their RRSP account, minus CPP and EI deductions.

"That kind of really elevated our buying power from one category to the next," says Walton.

With an emphasis on retention of staff, the company does require those who benefit from the program to make a commitment of their own.

"So all we ask is folks that have received the benefit, stick around for at least three years," Mocan says.

It’s a no-brainer for people like Walton who say they'd still be saving for a home if it weren't for this incentive.

"Pretty proud to be here and now we're about to start raising our family we're expecting in May," says Walton. "So it's nice to know we have a home we can have our daughter in."

It seems staff agree the investment goes far beyond work walls – it's one that's not only helping the company grow, but families too.

 

  

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