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

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Kindergarten class out learning some basic safety and biking skills on Spirit North Day. (Rachelle van Zanten photo/Lakes District News)
Spirit North’s after school program for spring and summer begin

The Spirit North’s after-school program at Morris Williams Elementary school has been… Continue reading

Indigenous count crucial to determining services

Pandemic protection measures in place for Indigenous communities

Kenny Olson in the bakery department where he worked for the past two years. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Community bids adieu to Kenny Olson

Retirement beckons after 40 years with Overwaitea/Save-On Foods

Beth Berlin with Lisa Cant after administering vaccines at the one-day walk-in clinic in Burns Lake last week. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake health area sees 50 per cent immunized population

Unknown when further clinics may be held

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read