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The Canadian federal government proposed a series of measures to alleviate the housing problem in the new annual budget submitted to the House of Representatives on April 7. The Canadian government believes that the continued influx of foreign money into the Canadian housing market over the years has heightened concerns about the cost of living in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, as well as fears that Canadians have been squeezed out of local housing markets.
The restrictions will include foreign businesses and people who do not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status.
Canadian officials also plan to crack down on property speculation, taxing all profits on the basis of business income for any seller who sells a property held for less than a year.
The Canadian government also plans to provide incentives for first-time home buyers through tax breaks and exemptions. The budget also proposes to establish a housing acceleration fund to provide C $4 billion to promote housing construction within five years from the current fiscal year, with a view to achieving the goal of building 100000 new housing units; it is proposed to provide C $1.5 billion over the next two years to facilitate the construction of at least 6000 units of comfortable housing. In addition, the government will also provide funds to support the development of the rental market.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Freeland said in the House of Representatives that the Canadian government will ensure that houses are used as homes for Canadians’ families, not as a speculative financial asset.
Providing people with more affordable housing is one of the earlier campaign promises of the Federal Liberal Party led by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau. The Liberal Party has also promised to impose a “foreign buyer tax” across the country to calm house prices.
Although the ruling Liberal Party has less than half of the seats in the current House of Representatives and belongs to a minority government, it reached an agreement with the New Democratic Party, one of the opposition parties, in late March and won the latter’s support on trust and budget issues. The Government’s Budget is expected to be passed without any serious problems.