For many Canadians, housing is a huge priority in determining who wins in federal elections. Many people in the working force do not want to spend the rest of their lives bogged down with house rent. In certain cities like Toronto and Vancouver, demand for housing has led to exceedingly high prices.
According to Statistics Canada, Housing is one of the biggest expenses for many Canadians. If you add up the cost of maintenance and repairs, then any political party offering tax credits and reductions in mortgage payments would have an upper hand.
Before the Canadian 2019 election, these were some top policies by political parties concerning income taxes and housing.
For liberals, the policy is to reduce the amount one can earn before paying federal taxes from $15,000 to $12,069. Conservatives desire to reduce the federal tax over three years by 1.25% for the $47,630 income group. They also seek to introduce a green public transit tax credit. For New Democrats, the focus has to be more on the super-wealthy with a proposal for charging wealthy individuals with more than $20 million with a 1% tax on the overall value of total assets. They also propose an annual reduction of the tax rate for individuals earning more than $210,371 by 2%.
The liberals plan to build 100,000 affordable houses in the next ten years while also proposing a federal tax of 1% on vacant houses. They also propose interest-free loans of up to $40,000 so that homeowners can make their houses weather resistant. Also, they plan to retrofit 1.5 million homes to make them more energy-efficient.
Conservatives offer a maximum amortization for first-time homeowners of 30 years from the current 25 years. They also suggest a tax credit of up to $25,000 when you spend on energy-saving renovations. Some energy-saving renovations one could engage in would include solar panels, window replacement and high-efficiency heating and cooling. Tax credits will come in handy if you want to repaint your house in Ottawa as you have more money in your pocket for repairs.
The New Democrats (NDP) have committed to building 500,000 housing units for the next decade. They also propose a waiver on the federal portion of the GST/HST. This will apply to rental units. To help reduce monthly rental payments for first-time homeowners there is a proposal to introduce a 30-year mortgage amortization. Also, they have a proposal to increase the home buyers’ tax credit from the current $750 to $1,500.
Foreign buyers have been pushing housing prices higher. The NDP proposes a 15% foreign buyers tax. This will spread into the market to affordable housing.
In some Canadian states, renters are spending up to 50% of their income on housing putting more pressure on living standards. This means that most political party’s policies are yet to offer a viable solution to the housing crisis. Poor housing has a direct effect on homelessness, and while most industrialized countries tend to have a solid housing strategy, in Canada the responsibility is shared among all three levels of government.