Federal Election 2019: Addressing Canada’s housing crisis

Federal election party colours on houses

“Canadians have an important decision to make,” said current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as he officially kicked-off the 43rd federal election on September 11. And come October 21, Ottawa and the rest of the country may look very different. With four years of Trudeau’s “sunny ways” under our belts, Canadians indeed have some serious thinking to do about the current state of our nation and its future path. As Trudeau’s Liberals fight to maintain power, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, Jagmeet Singh’s NDPs and Elizabeth May’s Green Party try to appeal to Canadians on the issues that matter most. So, brace yourselves for some hardcore campaigning and plenty of promises between now and election day.

Among the top issues concerning Canadians are cost of living and housing affordability, according to research from Abacus Data. Related to these, the mortgage stress test, low housing supply and lack of affordable rentals as alternatives to home ownership continue to be major hurdles.

Here’s what the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green parties have pledged to help solve Canada’s housing crisis.

Federal Election-Liberal party logoLIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA
2019 campaign slogan: Choose forward

  • The Liberals have promised to review rising real estate prices in high-valued markets such as Vancouver and Toronto, to determine whether speculation is driving up the cost of housing.
  • The Liberal Party has already increased the amount first-time buyers can withdraw from their RRSPs, from $25,000 to $35,000, as part of their 2019 budget.
  • Justin Trudeau has earmarked $1.25 billion over the next three years for First-Time Homebuyers’ Incentive (FTHBI), which first kicked in on September 2, 2019.
  • If elected, the Liberals have pledged to expand the above-mentioned FTHBI to include homes’ priced up to $789,000 in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
  • Trudeau has promised to increase the new residential rental property rebate on the GST to 100 per cent, thus doing away with all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing.
  • Provide $125 million per year in tax incentives to increase and substantially renovate the supply of rental housing across Canada.
  • As part of a new, 10-year investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure, prioritize significant new investment in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities.

Federal Election-Conservative party logoCONSERVATIVE PARTY OF CANADA
2019 campaign slogan: It’s time for you to get ahead.

  • Andrew Sheer has promised to scrap the mortgage stress test on mortgage switches, and will consider additional measures to improve housing affordability.
  • The Conservatives have been critical of the Liberals’ Carbon Tax, arguing it will further erode housing affordability and cost of living, and put home ownership even further out of reach of Canadians.
  • In an effort to address housing shortages and affordability issues in Canada, the Conservatives have pledged to increase new-home construction by cutting the red tape, shortening timelines and bringing down costs.

Federal Election-NPD party logoNEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF CANADA
2019 campaign slogan: In it for you.

  • The NDPs will double the homebuyer’s tax credit to $1,500 for first-time buyers.
  • Jagmeet Singh has promised to bring back 30-year amortization terms to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insured mortgages for first-time homebuyers.
  • The NDPs have pledged to eradicate the GST/HST on the construction of new rental units.
  • Create 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing in the next 10 years.

Federal Election-Green party logoGREEN PARTY OF CANADA
2019 campaign slogan: Not left. Not right. Forward together.

  • The Green Party is proposing that new housing developments must consist of 20 per cent affordable housing, at minimum.
  • Elizabeth May will push for innovative solutions such as “tiny homes,” laneway housing, co-housing and secondary suites.
  • The Greens promise to invest an additional $200 million over projected increases in the 2018 budget in funding for shelters, social, co-op and supportive housing.

As Canadians prepare to cast their vote in a few weeks, Trudeau’s words stressing this “important decision” may be keeping some of us up at night – and rightly so. There’s a lot at stake. Watch the federal election debates, read articles, get engaged and become educated on the issues that matter to you, to ensure you make an informed decision come October 21.

SOURCES:

  • Our plan for affordable housing, liberal.ca
  • Conservative leader vows to end stress test on mortgage switches, whichmortgage.ca
  • Scheer says we are in a cost-of-living crunch, stcatharinesstandard.ca
  • 2019 federal election platform guide: Where parties stand on everything, macleans.ca
  • Our platform, gpo.ca
  • 2019 federal election platform tracker: Where the major parties stand so far, bnnbloomberg.ca
  • Trudeau Liberals promise to expand first-time homebuyers program if elected, globalnews.ca