Federal Party Housing Platforms
With the election fast approaching, we thought we would do our best to compile the five main party housing platforms.
Firstly, we want to state as a non-partisan grassroots group, we will not be indicating support for any particular party.
As you will read, very few parties mention preserving existing public housing and creating new public or non-market housing. This is very alarming as public housing is vital to addressing the housing crisis.
If you get the opportunity to speak to the candidates face-to-face, make sure to ask them why their party prefers to put money in the pockets of the developers as opposed to back into the community it serves.
Liberal Party of Canada
- Rent-to-Own program to help make it easier for renters to get on the path towards homeownership while renting. They will commit $1 billion in loans and grants to develop and scale-up rent-to-own projects with private, not-for-profit, and co-op partners.
- The landlord must commit to charging a renter a lower-than-market rate to help Canadians build up savings for a downpayment;
- The landlord must commit to ownership in a five-year term or less; and
- Proper safeguards will be in place to protect the future homeowner.
- They will introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account to help young Canadians afford a downpayment, faster. Combining the features of both an RRSP and a TFSA, this plan will allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 towards their first home and to withdraw it tax-free to put towards their first home purchase with no requirement to repay it.
- Continuation of the First Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) a re-elected Liberal government will allow you to choose between the current shared-equity approach or a loan that is repayable only at the time of sale. Under the latter option, borrowers would not have to pay a monthly installment, but would instead have these payments deferred (at a market interest rate) until the time of sale. This would let you keep more of any increase in the value of your home, while still reducing your monthly mortgage costs.
- They will double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, from $5,000 to $10,000.
- They will reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25%. For a typical person, this will save $6,100. They will also increase the insured mortgage cut-off from $1 million to $1.25 million, and index this to inflation.
- They will invest $4 billion in a Housing Accelerator Fund which will grow the annual housing supply in the country’s largest cities every year, creating a target of 100,000 new, middle-class homes by 2024-25. (Ask your candidate: Will this fund apply to your district?)
- Based on an application from the municipality. Could support the following:
- support to municipalities that grow housing supply faster than their historical average
- reduce approval times
- help establish inclusionary zoning bylaws,
- encourage transit-oriented development.
- Based on an application from the municipality. Could support the following:
- $600 million to support the conversion of empty office and retail space into market-based housing.
- Work with municipalities to create a fast track system for permits to allow faster conversion of existing buildings. (Ask your candidate: How will this apply to your district?)
- Multigenerational Home Renovation tax credit for families wishing to add a secondary unit to their home for the purposes of allowing an immediate or extended family member to live with them. Families will be able to claim a 15% tax credit up to $50,000 in renovation and construction costs. This will provide up to $7,500 in support.
- They will work with Indigenous partners to co-develop an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy to ensure more Indigenous people have access to safe and affordable housing, and will support this strategy with dedicated investments.
- They will work with Indigenous partners to create a National Indigenous Housing Centre which will see Indigenous people overseeing federal Indigenous housing programs once fully realized.
- 2.8 billion to end chronic homelessness by 50% by 2027.
- They will create a Home Buyer’s Bill of Rights, This will include:
- Banning blind bidding, which prevents bidders from knowing the bids of other prospective buyers, and ultimately drives up home prices;
- Establishing a legal right to a home inspection to make sure that buyers have the peace of mind that their investment is sound;
- Ensuring total transparency on the history of recent house sale prices on title searches;
- Requiring real-estate agents to disclose to all participants in a transaction when they are involved in both sides of a potential sale;
- Moving forward with a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry;
- Ensuring banks and lenders offer mortgage deferrals for up to 6 months in the event of job loss or other major life event; and
- Requiring mortgage lenders act in your best interest so that you are fully informed of the full range of choices at your disposal, including the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive.
- They will also stop “renovictions” by deterring unfair rent increases that fall outside of a normal change in rent. They will require landlords to disclose on their tax filing the rent they receive pre- and post-renovation, and implement a proportional surtax if the increase in rent is excessive. (Ask your candidate: How will this be monitored and enforced?)
- They will ban foreign money from purchasing a non-recreational, residential property in Canada for the next two years, unless this purchase is confirmed to be for future employment or immigration in the next two years.
- Starting January 1, 2022, they will implement Canada’s first-ever national tax on non-resident, non-Canadian owners of vacant, underused housing and they will extend this to include foreign-owned vacant land within large urban areas.
- They will undertake a review of the tax treatment of large corporate owners of residential properties such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- They will put in place policies to curb excessive profits in this area.
(Ask your candidate: when this will take place and what actions will happen with the findings. Will the findings be made public?)
- They will put in place policies to curb excessive profits in this area.
- They will establish the Canada Financial Crimes Agency as Canada’s first-ever national law enforcement agency solely dedicated to investigating and combatting all forms of major financial crime, including the presence of money laundering in the housing market.
- They will establish an anti-flipping tax on residential properties, requiring properties to be held for at least 12 months.
Conservative Party of Canada
- They will increase the rate of home construction to build a million homes over the next three years.
- Review the extensive real estate portfolio of the federal government – the largest property owner in the country with over 37,000 buildings – and release at least 15 per cent for homes. (Ask your candidate: 5550 potential new homes? How would this work? Where would the homes be?)
- Require municipalities receiving federal funding for public transit to increase density near the funded transit.
- Encourage Canadians to invest in rental homes by allowing the deferral of capital gains tax when selling a rental property. (Ask your candidate: Is this a tax break for landlords?)
- Ban foreign investors from buying homes here if they are not planning to live in or move to Canada.
- Encourage foreign investment in affordable purpose-built rental housing for Canadians. (Ask your candidate: What does “purpose-built mean”?)
- Provide more Canadians with a path to homeownership by making it easier for more families to get a mortgage. (Ask your candidate: Tell me more about this “path”?)
- Be a reliable partner in addressing the housing needs of Indigenous communities and will implement a ‘For Indigenous, By Indigenous’ home strategy.
New Democratic Party of Canada
- Create at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next ten years, with half of that done within five years.
- Work in partnership with provinces and municipalities, build capacity for social, community, and affordable housing providers, to provide rental support for co-ops, and meet environmental energy efficiency goals.
- Set up dedicated fast-start funds to streamline the application process and help communities get the expertise and assistance they need to get projects off the ground now.
- Mobilize federal resources and lands for these projects, turning unused and under-used properties into vibrant new communities.
- Preserve 1.7 million homes over the next four years; (Ask your candidate: How? By doing what?)
- Spur the construction of affordable homes by waiving the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units. (Ask your candidate: What do they define as affordable?)
- Provide immediate relief for families that are struggling to afford rent in otherwise suitable housing. (Ask your candidate: By doing what?)
- Re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time home buyers. This will allow for smaller monthly payments.
- Double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500
- Offer $5,000 a year in rent subsidies
- Provide resources to facilitate co-housing, such as model co-ownership agreements and connections to local resources, and ease access to financing by offering CMHC-backed co-ownership mortgages.
- Implement a 20% Foreign Buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to individuals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- 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 laundering.
Green Party of Canada
- Declare housing affordability and homelessness a national emergency.
- Redefine affordable housing using a better, updated formula, that accounts for regional variations across the country.
- Immediately appoint the Federal Housing Advocate, as established in the National Housing Strategy Act.
- Establish a national moratorium on evictions.
- Maintain a moratorium on evictions until the pandemic is over and for a reasonable time thereafter, in cooperation with provincial governments.
- Create national standards to establish rent and vacancy controls.
- Provide a retroactive residential arrears assistance program to protect Canadians at risk of eviction or of being driven into homelessness due to accumulated rent arrears, as recommended by the National Right to Housing Network (NRHN) and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA).
- Strengthen regulation to limit foreign investment and end predatory practices in residential real estate. Raise the “empty home” tax for foreign and corporate residential property owners who leave buildings and units vacant.
- Assess the role of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Canada’s housing market. (Ask your candidate: What is the purpose of the assessment when it is known REIT are for-profit housing investments)
- Close tax haven loopholes that allow foreign investors to hide the names of beneficial owners of properties in Canada.
- Crack down on money laundering in Canadian real estate. (Ask your candidate: How? What would this look like?)
- Reinvest in affordable, non-profit, co-operative and supportive housing
- Protect the existing stock of affordable housing by funding the purchase of buildings by non-profit and cooperative affordable housing organizations.
- Expand the Rapid Housing Initiative to bring new affordable and supportive housing onstream without delay. With this expansion, more quality projects with funding and agreements already in place can quickly become affordable or supportive housing. (Ask your candidate: Will this expansion include non-marketing housing?)
- Invest in construction and operation of 50,000 supportive housing units over 10 years. (Ask your candidate: What is your definition of supportive housing?)
- Build and acquire a minimum of 300,000 units of deeply affordable non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over a decade.
- Create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy and update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.
- Require covenants to ensure that subsidized construction remains affordable over the long term.
- Restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families, by providing financing to non-profit housing organizations, cooperatives, and social housing to build and restore quality and affordable housing.
- Implement integrated housing, so that everyone can afford to live in the communities in which they work and under quality conditions.
- Restore tax incentives for building purpose-built rental housing, and provide tax credits for gifts of land, 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 Corporation (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. With many housing markets demonstrably overvalued, and home ownership rates among the highest in the world, individual home ownership should not be the preoccupation of a public service housing agency and a national housing strategy.
- Appoint a Minister of Housing to meet the needs of affordable housing that are unique to each province, oversee its implementation in collaboration with provincial ministers, and build on other aspects of the housing and homelessness crisis in Canada to tackle these issues.
- Increase access to housing for people with disabilities. Require that housing developments that receive federal funding must ensure that 30% of all units in each development must be deeply affordable and/or available to people with disabilities and special needs.
- Develop a strategy to face housing challenges in rural areas
- Guided by First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nations, develop inclusive and culturally appropriate Urban Indigenous Housing Strategies – for Indigenous Peoples and by Indigenous Peoples – as proposed by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association’s Indigenous Caucus.
- Reinvest in housing for Indigenous communities.
- Change the legislation that prevents Indigenous organizations from accessing financing through CMHC to invest in self-determined housing needs.
- Allocate funding towards urban Indigenous housing providers.
- Develop and implement an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy.
- Ensure that all housing in Indigenous communities is built following principles laid out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Leverage federal lands and real property for transfer to off-reserve Indigenous organizations to create housing and economic development opportunities.
- Assist urban and rural Indigenous people in identifying emergency accommodations and affordable housing options for youth, Elders, 2SLGBTQQIA+, and vulnerable populations.
- Establish a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing support program for all off-reserve and urban Indigenous communities, and include off-reserve Status and non-Status Indigenous Peoples.
- Support existing youth shelters and other infrastructure through federal grants.
- Invest in the creation of new youth shelters in urban and small urban centers across the country which would work on a needs-driven and community-centric approach.
- Remove shelter maximum stays for youth.
- Provide on-site and remote access guidance counselling and therapy for youth suffering from homelessness.
- Provide optional relocation services for rural youth suffering from homelessness to ensure that they have access to youth shelters and other infrastructure.
- Support and invest in the co-operative model for youth housing.
- Provide expanded mental health services for the homeless community.
- Increased access to high-quality mental health services would recognize the intersections between those experiencing homelessness and those experiencing mental health issues
- Implement programs that direct funds to municipalities providing support for people in the homeless community who use drugs.
- Support Housing First initiatives and other successful models of improving health outcomes.
- Invest one per cent of the Federal government’s annual revenue into social housing.
- Convert all unused federal properties in affordable social housing to fight the housing crisis.
- Introduce a new tax on real estate speculation.
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