The Green Party of Canada has unveiled a plan to deal with foreign buyers of homes in Canada.
It’s an indication that the Greens are using the same playbook as the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, and the People’s Party.
They all want to tap into a prevailing public sentiment that foreigners are to blame for the high cost of housing in the country.
The Green Party’s platform for the September 20, 2021 election promises to “strengthen regulation to limit foreign investment and end predatory practices in residential real estate”.
The party led by lawyer Annamie Paul will do this by raising the “empty home” tax for “foreign and corporate residential property owners who leave buildings and units vacant”.
The Greens were likely referring to the so-called “underused housing tax” that the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau introduced in the federal budget.
The national and annual one percent tax is to be imposed on the value of non-resident, non-Canadian owned residential real estate considered to be vacant or underused.
The said tax is planned to take effect January 1, 2022.
The federal government has launched consultations on the underused housing tax, and will welcome public comment until September 17.
The Green Party platform on housing also pledges to “assess the role of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Canada’s housing market”.
Also, the party will “close tax haven loopholes that allow foreign investors to hide the names of beneficial owners of properties in Canada”.
Additionally, Greens promise to “crack down on money laundering in Canadian real estate”.
While Paul’s party didn’t say how much they are going to tax homes owned by foreigners, the NDP of Jagmeet Singh is clear on what New Democrats will do.
The NDP platform promises to bring a 20 percent foreign buyer tax on the sale of Canadian homes to people who are neither citizens nor permanent residents.
“New Democrats will also fight money laundering, which fuels organized crime and drives up housing prices,” the NDP plan states.
For their part, the Conservatives of Erin O’Toole will ban foreign buyers not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes.
The People’s Reform Party led by Maxime Bernier promises to “work with provinces to curb speculation and money laundering by foreign non-resident buyers in Canada’s land and housing markets”.