How parties plan to tackle housing crisis

By Rohana Rezel

Here’s an analysis of how each party plans tackle the housing affordability crisis affecting millions of people in Canada’s big cities.

Liberal 4Conservative3NDP2Green1
Increase First-Time Home Buyer Incentive eligibility limit to $800KFix(?) the mortgage
stress test
Create 500,000 units of quality, affordable housingLegislate housing as a legally protected fundamental human right for all Canadians and permanent
residents
National tax on vacant residential properties owned by non-Canadians who don’t live in CanadaExtend the maximum amortization period on mortgages for first-time home buyers to 30 yearsKick-start the construction of co-ops, social and non-profit housing, with dedicated fast-start funds Appoint a Minister of Housing to strengthen the National Housing Strategy and build 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years
Launch a public inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sectorWaive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental unitsIncrease the National Housing Co-investment Fund by $750 million for new builds, and the Canada
Housing Benefit by $750 million for rent assistance for 125,000 households
Make surprlus federal real estate available for developmentProvide immediate relief(?) for families that are struggling to afford rent in otherwise suitable housingCreate a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy that would update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing,in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders
Reward(?) municipalities that have proven to reduce red tape that stands in the way of new home constructionCMHCbacked co-ownership mortgages to facilitate co-housingEliminate the first-time home buyer grant
Put in place a Foreign Buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to individuals who aren’t Canadian
citizens or permanent residents
Include new and existing housing as eligible infrastructure for funding purposes, allowing the Canada
Infrastructure Bank to support provincial and municipal housing projects
Work with the provinces to create a public beneficial ownership registry to increase transparency about who owns properties, and require reporting of suspicious transactions in order to help find and stop money launderingProvide financing to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives to build and restore quality, energy
efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families
Extend the maximum amortization period on mortgages for first-time home buyers to 30 yearsRestore tax incentives for building purpose-built rental housing and provide tax credits for gifts of lands,
or of land and buildings, to community land trusts to provide affordable housing
Remove the “deemed” GST whenever a developer with empty condo units places them on the market
as rentals
Re-focus the core mandate of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate (CMHC) on supporting the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing, as opposed to its current priority of
supporting Canadian lenders to de-risk investment in housing ownership
Change the legislation that prevents Indigenous organizations from accessing financing through CMHC to invest in self-determined housing needs

Highlights

The Good

  • Both the NDP and the Greens plan to massively build out public housing
  • Both the NDP and the Greens intend to support co-ops and co-housing
  • Both the Liberals and NDP have promised a foreign buyer tax
  • Both the Conservatives and NDP have plans to tackle money laundering
  • Greens have pledged to end the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a program that has the potential to inflate home prices without fixing the affordability crisis

The Bad

  • The Liberals plan to increase First-Time Home Buyer Incentive eligibility limit, thereby adding more fuel to the affordability fire
  • The Conservatives plan to “fix” the mortgage stress to make it easier for borrowers, potentially leading to irresponsible borrowing and further debt-driven inflation of the housing bubble
  • The Conservatives and the NDP plan to increase mortgage amortization period to 30 years, leading to further debt-driven inflation of the housing bubble

The Ugly

  • The Conservatives will reward cities that give real estate developers a carte blanche to build whatever they want wherever they  want. Given the track record of Vancouver developers, this policy would result in vulnerable tenants being thrown out on to the streets to make way for, in the words of developer Westbank, “safety deposit boxes  for the global rich.”

2 thoughts on “How parties plan to tackle housing crisis

  1. The Liberals fulfill 90% of their campaign promises. In this election, more so than in the Harper election, the CPC and Scheer have resorted to telling lie after lie, much like their hero to the south. They have based nearly their entire campaign on lies and inducing fear. I expect them to not fulfil a single one of those promises listed above and will in fact increase the housing problem as well as income disparity.

    1. The Liberals have absolutely lied and broken so many MAJOR promises.
      1 – didn’t institute proportional representation (this lie alone should be enough to never vote liberal again)
      2 – bought a G*D* pipeline in the middle of global warming
      3 – promise to decrease corruption but good lord look at the SLC Lavalin situation
      4 – where is the clean water on reserves? Or fixing the grassy narrows mercury situation?
      5 – housing crisis is still raging with no real investment in policies to help the most vulnerable

      What did they even do in the last 4 years other than semi-botch cannabis legalization?

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