In a new Nanos poll, 78% of Canadians said they would be more supportive of a political party that proposed concrete action to end homelessness and build new affordable housing. As we prepare to vote this month, let’s review what the national parties propose around housing and homelessness.
The Liberals are promising to build, preserve or repair 1.4 million homes over 4 years. They will push big cities to build middle-class homes, convert empty office space into housing, and introduce tax credits that support multi-generational family living. They will also scale up rent-to-own projects and offer a tax-free First Home Savings Account. In addition to this, they plan to double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit and introduce other measures that could save first-time buyers up to $30,000. Their proposed buyers’ bill of rights would include a ban on “blind bidding,” which can drive up sale prices on homes. They would also crack down on housing speculation and home flipping, and they would temporarily ban new foreign ownership in Canadian housing.
The Conservatives pledge to build 1 million homes in the next 3 years. They commit to using 15% of federal-owned buildings for housing, and they would require municipalities receiving federal transit funding to increase density near transit. They will encourage investment in rental homes by allowing owners to defer capital gains tax when selling. They will also ban foreign investors from buying homes in Canada unless they plan to live in them or move to Canada. In addition, the party plans to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centres across the country. They will also provide $1 billion over five years for Indigenous mental health and drug treatment programs.
The NDP will create at least 500,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years, with at least half completed in the next 5 years. The party will introduce “fast-start funds” to create more co-op and non-profit social housing, use federal lands and resources for affordable housing, and waive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of affordable rentals. They have also promised to double the Home Buyers Tax Credit and re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC-insured mortgages for most first-time buyers. They will also create resources to facilitate co-housing, such as model co-ownership agreements. Finally, they will place a 20% foreign buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to people who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents.
The Green Party wants to declare a national housing affordability and homelessness emergency. From there, they would adopt a national moratorium on evictions and create a residential arrears assistance program to protect people from becoming homeless. They would make new investments in cooperative housing, and they would retain the current tax on foreign homeowners while adding a tax on corporate owners of unoccupied residences. They also plan to enhance the Canada Housing Benefit and to redefine “affordable housing” using a formula that better reflects today’s reality.
The Nanos poll referenced above reveals that a shocking 4.9 million Canadians are worried about making next month’s rent or mortgage payment. With so much at stake, we encourage you to look into each party’s housing and homelessness policies as you prepare to cast your vote.