Green Party of Canada Housing Policies: A Closer Look

Wes Regan

The Green Party of Canada has put forward an ambitious housing plank that re-imagines the role that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation plays in facilitating the fulfillment of housing needs in communities across the country. Much of the emphasis in the 2019 platform has been placed on building and enhancing social and supportive housing, reinvigorating our co-op housing and bringing online new supply of affordable rental housing in communities.

As the campaign has unfolded, the Green Party has been listening to housing affordability advocates across the country and is refreshing our plank with additional measures to support more equitable and balanced market conditions in which working Canadians can afford home ownership, by enhancing and complimenting our strong Housing First policies with additional Homes First policies. Some of these are already approved policies brought forward at previous conventions, while others are an adjustment to what currently is in the platform.

Canadian housing markets have experienced market distortions for far too long, with housing prices outpacing wages, in some regions dramatically. Housing has been treated as a commodity, driven by speculation and global flows of capital into major urban centres in particular. That is why the Green Party is committed to the following:

  • Creating an open data partnership between the Federal Government, provinces, municipalities, universities and civil society groups concerned with housing affordability to improve the gathering, analyzing and sharing of data relating to housing. This would include data on global flows of capital into Canadian housing markets and its impact.
  • Supporting this work will be a new collaborative program bringing together the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis (FINTRAC) and the RCMP to monitor and report on fraud, money laundering and other criminality as it relates to housing concerns in communities and regions.
  • Already in the 2019 Platform the Party has committed to applying a corporate tax on transnational e-commerce companies doing business in Canada by requiring the foreign vendor to register, collect and remit taxes where the product or service is consumed. The e-commerce sector – giants like Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber command a significant share of the Canadian market but pay virtually no tax. This has always included AirBnB, which has been identified as a factor influencing housing affordability, speculation, and access to rental stock. We affirm this explicitly in the context of housing affordability though and not just corporate tax loopholes
  • After hearing criticisms about eliminating the First Time Home Buyer Grant the Green Party is now committed to reviewing the program instead to ensure that it is not facilitating housing speculation in markets.
  • The Party also wants to note that its commitment to provide stable, ongoing, predictable funding for transit and transportation infrastructure needs in regions, as per the call of groups like the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Metro Vancouver Mayor’s Council, will also support local governments and provinces to plan and accommodate more housing by leveraging investments in transit and active transportation.  This would replace the gas tax, which eventually will be phased out in the transition to clean energy.

Wes Regan
Shadow Cabinet Caucus Chair, Municipal Affairs and Housing