• Post published:February 10, 2021
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read
  • Post category:In Ottawa

For immediate release
February 10, 2020

Green Party calls on government to declare housing and homelessness national crises, clamp down on commodification of housing market

NANAIMO, B.C. – Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith Paul Manly is calling on the government to pass his motion to declare housing unaffordability a national crisis and to clamp down on the financialization and commodification of the housing market.

“While Canadians are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic, house prices are reaching new highs and more people are on the edge of becoming homeless. If this continues unchecked, we will miss our chance at a just recovery from COVID-19,” said Manly.

“The goal of Canadian housing policy should be to provide safe homes for everyone who lives here – not to drive a profit for wealthy corporations and provide a haven for money laundering. We’ve seen the consequences that an out-of-control housing market has on cities like Vancouver and Toronto. It means fewer opportunities for locals, a worsening homelessness crisis and deepening inequality. Now the crisis has spread, including to my community of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and it shows no signs of stopping.

“The government needs to recognize that housing affordability and homelessness are twin national crises and take urgent action to clamp down on the financialization and commodification of our housing market.”

Member of Parliament for Fredericton, Jenica Atwin, is seeing similar trends in New Brunswick. “The population of individuals experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness in Fredericton has grown this year due to the overlapping challenges facing Canadians: financial insecurity and job loss through the pandemic, and rapid changes in the housing and construction markets driven by interprovincial migration to smaller, safer cities. There are very few tenant protections in New Brunswick, meaning many of my constituents are even more vulnerable to predatory behaviours in the housing market,” said Atwin. “We need federal leadership to recognize housing as a human right and to look out for those most in need.”

Manly has given notice of his private member’s motion to declare housing affordability a national crisis on the House of Commons order papers. In addition to the declaration of the crisis, it calls on the government to update the definition of affordable housing, remove tax exemptions for real estate investment trusts that are not being used to protect affordable housing units, do more to crack down on foreign ownership of real estate and money laundering, and to protect affordable housing units.

“As we begin our recovery from COVID-19, we must recognize that simply pumping money into the housing market is not a sound economic strategy. While an out-of-control housing market might help drive GDP growth that the government loves to tout, it creates a host of other problems as people struggle to save for their futures and meet their basic needs. We need a recovery that creates opportunity and makes life better for all.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Laurie MacMillan
Communications Coordinator, MP Paul Manly
250-668-2732
laurie.macmillan@greenparty.ca 

 

M-66 HOUSING CRISIS

43RD PARLIAMENT, 2ND SESSION

That the House recognize that: 

(a) housing unaffordability is a national crisis affecting every part of Canada; 

(b) 1.8 million Canadian households spend more than 30% of their income on rent, and 800,000 of those households spend more than 50%; 

(c) an estimated 2.4 million Canadian households experienced core housing need in 2020; 

(d) the definition of affordable housing is out of date and out of touch with the economic realities faced by millions of Canadian individuals and families; 

(e) Canadian real estate is being inflated due to the financialization and commodification of housing; 

(f) the inflation of the Canadian housing market is exacerbated by our market being used to launder money and as a tax haven for domestic and international investors; 

(g) corporations, numbered companies and real estate investment trusts (REITs) are investing billions of dollars into residential housing stock with the goal of extracting maximum profits;

(h) REITs inflate the real estate market while benefiting from massive tax exemptions; 

(i) while some parts of Canada have rent controls and/or vacancy controls, there are no national standards to protect renters in Canada; and 

(j) some of Canada’s current policies for increasing housing stock amount to a transfer of tax dollars to private-for-profit entities, and do nothing to protect existing affordable housing stock; 


and that, in the opinion of the House, the government should: 

(i) recognize housing unaffordability and homelessness as twin national crises; 

(ii) re-define affordable housing using a better, updated formula; 

(iii) remove tax exemptions for REITs, unless they are being used to protect affordable housing units; 

(iv) do more to regulate foreign investment in residential real estate; 

(v) require restrictive covenants on affordable housing units built with taxpayer subsidies to ensure that those housing units remain affordable; 

(vi) create national standards to establish rent and vacancy controls; 

(vii) create an empty home tax for foreign and corporate residential property owners that leave buildings and units vacant; 

(viii) increase access to affordable properties for Canadians buying homes by regulating investors out of the market for residential real estate priced below median regional prices; and 

(ix) prioritize funding for non-profit and cooperative housing.