SAANICH, B.C. — Access to affordable housing in Canada is disappearing fast as more and more hard-working Canadians find themselves unable to afford either to buy or rent in major urban centres. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada’s house price-to-income ratio is the highest in the world – by a large margin.
“Affordable housing is a fundamental human right,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “A Green government will build 25,000 new affordable housing units and refurbish 15,000 more, annually for the next ten years. We also have additional funding, changes in legislation and changes in the way homes will be financed. And we will re-introduce proven tax incentives to support construction of rental housing.”
Federal incentives for purpose-built rental housing were eliminated in the 1970s. During decades of promoting home ownership, federal support for co-ops, rental housing, social housing and supportive housing has languished. There is now a national shortage of affordable housing resulting in a growing homelessness and housing insecurity.
Ms. May pointed out that one of the benefits of responding to the climate crisis is that by making homes more energy efficient is that, it also makes them more affordable to run.
“Greens will appoint a Minister of Housing to strengthen the National Housing Strategy,” she said. ‘Housing needs are different in each province so this ministry will oversee policy implementation and collaboration with provincial ministers. This recognizes that housing is a provincial jurisdiction.”
A Green government will:
- Legislate housing as a legally protected fundamental human right for all Canadians and permanent residents.
- Create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy to update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing, in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.
- Provide financing to non-profit housing organizations and cooperatives to build and restore quality, energy efficient housing for seniors, people with special needs and low-income families.
- Remove the “deemed” GST whenever a developer with empty condo units places them on the market as rentals.
- Change the legislation that prevents Indigenous organizations from accessing financing through CMHC to invest in self-determined housing needs.
- Expand and enhance the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation mandate to serve the diverse housing needs of Canadian communities, including supportive and social housing and affordable rental housing.
- Create a housing data partnership with provinces and municipalities, academic and civil society partners to create evidence-based responses to the complex pressure Canadian housing markets face.
“Canadians have seen in this election how comprehensive and ambitious the Green Party’s platform is, and that ambition extends to our housing plank,” said Green Party Caucus Chair for Urban Affairs and Housing, Wes Regan. “In the 21st century Canadians deserve a government that is willing to learn from what’s worked in the past while innovating with other partners to invest in their diverse housing needs today. With housing as a Universal Human Right at its core, our housing plank has been recognized by leading advocacy organizations for doing just that.”
“It’s simply unconscionable that in one of the richest countries in the world, so many people cannot afford to rent or own a home. Greens are ready to change that and will make housing affordable again,” concluded Ms. May.
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