In continuation of our coverage of the election topic of housing in Canada, the Green Party’s platform for housing has a major focus on affordability and addressing the homelessness crises across Canada. Beginning with the basic premise that adequate housing is a fundamental right, the Green Party proposes a bold platform that is quite different from the main parties’ platforms.
The Green Party pledges to declare housing affordability and homelessness a national emergency, citing that prior to the pandemic, 1.6 million Canadians lived in unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable housing coupled with the statistic that on any given night, more than 35,000 Canadians may experience homelessness. They want to redefine and update the term affordable housing that will better represent the regional variations across Canada and immediately appoint the Federal Housing Advocate.
Protection for Renters
For renters in Canada, the party pledges to establish a national moratorium on evictions and continue to uphold it until the pandemic is over and there has been reasonable recovery time. Additionally, they will create national standards for rent and vacancy controls to protect Canada’s renters. The Greens will provide a retroactive residential arrears assistance program that will protect Canadians who are at risk of eviction or homelessness.
Addressing the Housing Market
The Green Party pledges to strengthen regulations that will limit foreign investment in the housing market as well as ending predatory practices in residential real estate. They will raise the vacant home tax for foreign and corporate residential property owners as well as cracking down on money laundering in Canadian real estate. Additionally, they will investigate and assess the role of REITs and close tax haven loopholes, targeting foreign investors to hide in the Canadian market.
Addressing the Housing Supply
The Greens pledge to reinvest in affordable, non-profit, cooperative and supportive housing as well as protecting the existing stock of affordable housing with funding the purchases of buildings for non-profit and cooperative affordable housing organizations. As well as that, they will expand the Rapid Housing Initiative to facilitate and streamline the funding for new affordable housing projects. Additionally, they will invest in building more than 50,000 supportive housing units over 10 years and build at least 300,000 affordable, non-market, non-profit housing in the same time frame.
They pledge to, with CMHC support, update the mechanisms and financing for co-ops. Additionally, they will ensure units remain affordable by requiring convents in construction. Restoration of existing housing is also a primary goal of the green party with a particular focus on seniors, special needs and low-income families. Financing and encouraging green and energy-efficient retrofitting and building for affordable housing is also a green promise.
Access to Housing for Indigenous Peoples
The Green Party commits to improving access to housing for Indigenous peoples under the guidance of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nation. They pledge to reinvest in housing for Indigenous communities including changing the legislation for access to financing through CMHC for Indigenous organizations, allocating funds towards urban Indigenous housing providers, developing and implementing an urban, rural and northern Indigenous Housing Strategy and leveraging federal lands and real property for transfer to off-reserve Indigenous organizations.
Addressing Homelessness and Unaffordable Housing
The Green Party’s platform addresses and pledges to confront the homelessness crisis in Canada, particularly targeting youth. With at least 20% of the country’s homeless population are young people, the Green pledges to support existing youth shelters with federal grants as well as investing in new youth shelters across the country. They will remove shelter maximum stays for youth, provide on-site and remote guidance and therapy and invest in co-operative models for youth housing.
On a wider scale to address the general homelessness crisis, the Greens pledge to expand access to mental health services and implement high-quality programs that direct funds to municipalities to provide support for the homeless communities, particularly those who suffer from drug addiction and related issues. By supporting Housing First Initiatives and other successful models of improving health outcomes, the Greens will be able to assist many experiencing homelessness in Canada.
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