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May 10th, 2022

Corporate pandering by Liberals and Conservatives puts housing prices out of reach

New Democrats propose real solutions to cool the housing market and provide affordable housing to Canadians

OTTAWA — Today, NDP Housing Critic Jenny Kwan and NDP Finance Critic Daniel Blaikie called on the government to help Canadians trying to afford a decent place to rent instead of allowing rich investors to buy up units and drive prices sky-high. Kwan and Blaikie shared Peggy Rafter’s story. Peggy is a low-income senior, who is facing renoviction from an apartment she’s lived in for 30 years. They were also joined by Bader Abu-Zohra, a local housing advocate and Co-Chair of the Ottawa-Vanier ACORN chapter.

"Huge corporations and wealthy investors are making big money by putting people like Peggy out of a home," said Kwan."The Liberals have to stop rewarding rich investors for buying up rental units and then jacking up the rent. This is what the financialization of housing means and it has to stop."

The NDP fought for a commitment to address the financialization of housing in its Supply and Confidence Agreement with the Liberals. Now New Democrats are offering constructive proposals to realize that commitment by urging the government to:

  • Put a moratorium in place on the acquisition of affordable homes by REITs and other corporate landlords who are making big profits while driving up costs and renovicting Canadians.
  • Change how REITs are taxed since the tax code currently rewards investors for jacking up housing prices. Already, the seven largest apartment-owning REITs in Canada have saved a combined $1.5 billion through federal tax loopholes.
  • Put in place a federal non-profit acquisition fund to allow not-for-profit co-op or land trust organizations to purchase at-risk rental buildings when they come on the market. This will ensure wealthy investors can't monopolize the supply of affordable rental units.

“Canadians shouldn't have to compete with deep-pocketed investors just to get a home, but this is the system Liberals and Conservatives have created together over decades," said Blaikie. "Liberals and Conservatives would rather go after foreign buyers or the Bank of Canada than challenge their wealthy friends, but Canadians will not get relief until corporate investors are no longer permitted to use our affordable housing stock as a cash cow."

Housing validators:

“Over the past 30 years, Manor Village has become my life. There is such a sense of togetherness here. We’ve had neighbourhood potlucks and charity fundraisers and we help dig each other's cars out of the snow. Everyone takes care of each other here. I’ve raised my kids here. I have my grandkids here now. But since Forum Equities, a toronto-based investment company, took ownership of the neighbourhood in September 2020, I've been worried about how all of this could change. They've issued mass N13 eviction notices to do major renovations. Why? So they can destroy the community and raise the rent for tenants who can afford to pay more.

– Peggy Rafter, a resident of Manor Village for over 30 years now facing renoviction

"When tenants are pushed out of their homes they are forced into shelters, they are sleeping on friends' couches or they are forced out of the city entirely. This is why ACORN Canada supports a moratorium on the acquisition of properties by financialized landlords and other measures to crack down on predatory, corporate landlords."

– Bader Abu-Zahra, Co-Chair of the Ottawa-Vanier ACORN Chapter