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CANADA VOTES 2021: How will the parties make housing more affordable?

Housing prices have skyrocketed during the pandemic
Housing affordability has become a top issue for Canadians as housing prices continue to climb. (Black Press file photo)

Canadian housing prices have skyrocketed during the pandemic and the hot housing market shows no signs of cooling down.

Voters frequently rank affordability as their chief concern. With that in mind, the federal parties hope to entice voters with their plans to make housing more affordable.

Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberals have pledged to build, repair or preserve 1.4 million homes in four years and invest $4 billion in a “housing accelerator fund” to create 100,000 new homes by 2025.

The Liberals are also promising to remove barriers to homeownership by creating a new rent-to-own program where landlords commit to charging lower than market rates to help tenants build up their savings to work towards ownership in five years.

On the note of home ownership, Leader Justin Trudeau says he will ban foreign ownership for the next two years and tax the existing vacant, foreign-owned properties.

First-time homebuyers would also have access to a tax-free First Home Savings Account and the Liberals are promising to double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit.

The Liberals have promised to appoint a Federal Housing Advocate and work toward reducing chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.

Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservatives say they will build one million new homes in the next three years with a focus on building new rental supply.

Part of that pledge includes cracking down on money laundering in the Canadian housing market, banning foreign buyers from purchasing homes in Canada and incentivizing them to invest in purpose-built rental properties instead.

The Conservatives have vowed to never charge Canadians capital gains tax on the sale of their principal residence and have proposed a deferral on capital gains tax for the sale of rental properties if the seller reinvests that money in new rental housing projects.

On homelessness, Leader Erin O’Toole is promising a housing-first strategy and invest $325 million over the next three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and 50 recovery community centres across Canada.

New Democratic Party

The NDP is promising to create 500,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years, half of which will be completed in the next five years.

To achieve that, the NDP would create a fast-start fund for organizations to access funding and begin affordable housing projects. They would also waive GST and HST on the construction of new affordable rental units.

Leader Jagmeet Singh has also said he would create a 20-per-cent foreign buyers tax on the sale of homes and create an ownership registry to “increase transparency” around who owns properties.

With their commitment to affordable housing, the NDP are also committing to a housing-first approach to combat homelessness by working with provinces and municipalities to convert hotels and motels for emergency housing relief until new housing becomes available.

The Green Party of Canada

The Green Party is promising to declare housing and affordability and homelessness a national emergency and redefine what affordable housing means. They would also appoint a Minister of Housing to look after these issues.

Their platform includes a moratorium on evictions, national standards for rent and vacancy controls, and cracking down on foreign ownership of Canadian homes.

Leader Annamie Paul says they would create 50,000 supportive housing units and a minimum of 300,000 affordable housing units over 10 years.

The People’s Party of Canada

The People’s Party says Canada is suffering from a lack of housing supply and high demand driven by immigration. To reduce demand, the People’s Party is promising to reduce immigration to around 100,000 immigrants per year.

Leader Maxime Bernier believes housing is a matter best left to municipal and provincial governments. The party has pledged to stop funding all social housing projects, dismantle the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and work with the provinces to fight speculation and money laundering in the Canadian housing market.

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