ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Black Press Media has taken an in-depth look at three major issues in the 2019 federal election campaign: energy and climate change, taxation and the economy, and housing. Our final piece: housing

Young Canadians are spending 30 per cent or more of their incomes on housing. Mortgages in major cities are necessitating down payments that require decades of saving. The national vacancy rate for apartments has hit a 10-year low.

Canada’s housing crisis is even more dire for the tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness. Some people are in tent cities. Shelters are struggling to support the demand. And supportive housing meant to get people off the streets and onto the path of opportunity are opening with wait lists.

Housing affordability has featured prominently throughout the federal election campaign so far. Here is a comparison of what the parties are offering.

READ MORE: NDP leader Singh promises action on affordable housing after winning byelection

Another Justin Trudeau government would continue with its 10-year, $40-billion National Housing Strategy announced in 2017. The Liberals would move forward with the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which gives people up to 10 per cent off the purchase of their first home, and would increase the qualifying value to nearly $800,000 in places where houses cost more, like Vancouver and Toronto.

To limit speculation, the Liberals are pledging to tax vacant residential properties owned by non-residents.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has announced he would “fix” the mortgage stress test so first-time buyers are not “unnecessarily prevented” from getting mortgages. If elected, he would also increase amortization periods on insured mortgages to 30 years for first-time homebuyers in an effort to lower monthly payments.

The party would also save $300 million by cancelling the Liberal Housing Supply Challenge, a program that invites communities to propose initiatives that break down barriers limiting new housing.

READ MORE: Trudeau targeted in English leaders’ debate

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh vows to build 500,000 affordable homes over 10 years, with a $5-billion injection, and try to ease speculation with a 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax.

The New Democrats would also remove the GST on new rental units, double the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500, and, like the Conservatives, re-introduce 30-year terms to allow for smaller monthly payments on insured mortgages.

Green leader Elizabeth May would build 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units annually for the next 10 years, appoint a Minister of Housing, and introduce a law to declare housing a human right.

She would also refocus the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on developing affordable and co-op housing, rather than facilitating the ownership of individual homes, and eliminate the first-time home buyer grant.

The People’s Party of Canada has not released any housing-specific policies as of Oct. 15.

Check out our previous stories in this series:

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders



karissa.gall@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read