NDP housing critic and Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan issued the following statement today:
“As Canadians struggle with the affordability of the housing market, a developer in Toronto is set to buy $1 billion worth of single-family houses for rentals. This will inevitably drive up the rental costs and the prospective of homeownership will only become more remote—especially for first time buyers.
“People across the country are afraid they’ll never be able to afford a home in the city where they grew up. Canadians are being displaced from their own neighbourhoods and are forced to endure longer and longer commutes because they just can’t afford a home close to their workplace. Now we have a housing developer buying up units in the greater Toronto area where vacancy and affordability are already huge issues.
“The cost of housing in Canada has increased by over 30 percent in a single year. Only a third of Canadians can afford to buy any type of home and housing prices in Canada have risen the most in the world since 2000. Under Justin Trudeau, Canada’s housing price to income ratio is the highest in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—by a large margin. Yet the ministry in charge of housing indicated that they are not interested changing their housing policy.
“Clearly, the Liberals' current approach to housing is failing Canadians.
“The right to housing must be more than just words. The government must take immediate and aggressive action to ensure housing remains affordable for Canadians. This should include the creation of 500,000 social housing units, putting in place a housing acquisition fund for non-profits and controls on real estate investment trusts who acquire existing affordable units and erode the rental market with renovictions.
“The government also needs to crack down on foreign speculators and money laundering. The parliamentary secretary for housing admitted that we have 'a very safe market for foreign investment' but ‘not a great market for Canadians looking for choices around housing’. The government’s solution is an ineffective one percent tax on foreign investors which is far too weak to have any meaningful impact.
"The prime minister is standing by as rich developers drive up housing costs for everyday Canadians. The Liberal government must take action to ensure Canadians can actually afford housing.”