2020- 2022 Policy Process | Green Party of Canada
Where GPC membership collaborates to develop our policies
G21-P017 Achieving Housing For All Through Market Regulation & Public Investment in Housing
The GPC supports:
- regulations such as caps on rent and land ownership, targeted taxation to combat speculation, and inclusionary zoning
- federal transfers to provinces and municipalities to fund the creation, renovation, and regular maintenance of publicly owned and operated housing
- expropriation and acquisition of land for use as public housing.
To address the housing crisis by increasing the amount of public housing, and providing new regulations to combat speculation and the hoarding of land and property by corporations and landlords.
Housing precarity contributes to several mental health crises and the restriction of economic activity. Increasing the supply of non-market housing provides the most vulnerable Canadians with affordable solutions. Regulating the private market will combat the current runaway explosion in the price of housing affecting every province in the country.
Supporting Comments from Submitter
Housing precarity and poor unit quality can be significant factors in poor health (Hernandez & Suglia, 2016). Providing significant funding to improve quality and increase quantity of affordable housing solutions is a matter of public health concern.
The mass creation of public housing has been used as a poverty-relief tool for centuries. Perhaps one of the most successful stories comes from the policies of Red Vienna where heavy investments were made in the creation of public housing. Today, the city enjoys the status as being one of the cheapest big cities for renters in Europe with 60% of residents living in public housing.
To illustrate the need for regulations such as caps on land and/or property ownership, caps on rent like the recent
Berlin Rent Cap, or taxation methods like those being explored by Vancouver, it is important to note that as of 2016 approximately 1.34 million homes sat empty across Canada. When paired with the fact that 235,000 people experience homelessness in any given year, it becomes evident that the issue of supply is not a lack of constructed units, but more an issue of excess ownership.
Additional context to the pan-Canadian nature of housing precarity can be found by looking at the current state of the housing market. The Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) classifies housing as “affordable” if payments total no more than 30% of an individual’s monthly income. A useful case study in affordability, then, is to look at the average rent for a 1-bedroom unit in any major Canadian city compared to the monthly pre-tax income of a full-time minimum wage worker. For brevity, 8 cities will be looked at as an example using the conservative figures from the CMHC’s
- Calgary: Avg. 1-bed rent – $1087 (45% of income)
- Halifax: Avg. 1-bed rent – $1016 (49% of income)
- Montreal: Avg. 1-bed rent – $810 (37% of income)
- Regina: Avg. 1-bed rent – $949 (52% of income)
- Toronto: Avg. 1-bed rent – $1417 (62% of income)
- Vancouver: Avg. 1-bed rent – $1415 (58% of income)
- Winnipeg: Avg. 1-bed rent – $991 (52% of income)
- Yellowknife: Avg. 1-bed rent – $1483 (61% of income)
Making up a sizeable 10.4% of the Canadian labour force, the minimum wage worker is facing intense levels of housing precarity no matter what province or territory they reside in.
The context for home-ownership is no less concerning. The average house price in Canada is $716,000, however the median Canadian income is approximately $38,000. This means that unless they have no dependents, medical expenses, transportation costs, leisure activities, or any expense other than rent and food, half the country’s workforce is unable to afford a down payment on the average Canadian house.
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