Housing affordability continues to be a top priority for people in our community. It’s unsurprising, given that house prices have gone up 275% while wages have only increased 42% since 2005. It’s also part of what has led to the number of people living unsheltered in our community to triple since 2018. This is a crisis, and the federal government has an important role to play.
It’s why I’m working hard to build cross-party support for measures that would address the underlying causes of this crisis.
One example is my Private Members Motion 71 which calls on the federal government to end tax exemptions for large, corporate investors called Real Estate Investment Trusts, and to redirect those funds to build the affordable housing our community needs. This would not only help to level the playing field between homebuyers or renters and these corporations, but also boost the affordable, non-profit, and co-operative housing projects we need built in our community and across the country.
Months ago, I asked the non-partisan Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) to identify how much revenue my motion could generate. The results are in. Ending these tax loopholes would generate between $285.8 million and $670.2 million to invest in affordable housing over the next five years.
For me, this is addressing the issue from two sides. In 1996, REITs didn’t own any rental units in Canada. Since then, they’ve scooped up almost 200,000 homes, often raising rents and making housing less affordable.
With 20-30% of our country’s purpose-build rental housing now owned by corporate investors, it’s increasingly difficult for renters and home buyers to find affordable places to live. I’ve heard from artists, seniors, and nurses who are all in the same position: they’re considering or moving away from our community because they simply can’t afford to live here.
Institutional investors should invest in the stock market, not in our housing supply.
In recent weeks – equipped with these PBO findings – I’ve been working with my colleagues in Ottawa to build support for Motion 71, from the Minister of Housing to the Minister of Finance. And I will continue to: it’s what my neighbours sent me to Parliament to do.
See more on my work to make housing a human right and to ensure everyone in our community has a place to call home:
Key moments of my advocacy in the House of Commons
Related petitions I’ve sponsored
My Private Members Motion
Find related media coverage on my work