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Victoria Green Party Candidate First to Respond to VRBA Survey on Housing

The following is a response to VRBA’s Housing Issues Survey for Federal Election Candidates. The first to respond to the survey is Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party candidate in Victoria.    

  1. GST New Home Rebate

BC has the highest average home price in Canada – $608,294. The second highest is Ontario – $454,098 a difference of about $154,000. Inflation has eroded the GST New Home Rebate where less than 10% of Victoria residents qualify for the full rebate, reduced from 90% in 1991. Will you and your party support adjusting the rebate to today’s home prices and indexing the GST New Home Rebate to inflation?

Response by Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party – “The Green Party supports home ownership. Green MPs support indexing the GST New Home Rebate to inflation. Inflation has eroded this rebate to the point where too many in our community no longer qualify for a full rebate. It no longer fulfils its purpose of helping new home buyers. In our region, buying a home is turning into a pipe dream, especially for young families. The federal government promised to do its part to help maintain affordability. It is only fair to keep that promise.”

 “The Green Party also supports indexing the Home Buyers’ Plan to the Consumer Price Index in $2,500 increments, to make sure that it remains a useful tool for people buying their first homes. We will work to ensure that mortgage amortization rates meet the needs of home buyers. We are committed to consulting with the industry to make sure that buying a home is not out of reach for Canadians.”

  1. Home Renovation Tax Credit

The benefits of a Home Renovation Tax Credit are:

  • Most effective, affordable way to improve energy efficiency in Canada’s housing stock;
  • Health and safety promoted by encouraging the use of professional contractors for abatement of asbestos found in insulation, stucco, roof shingles, floor tiles and more.
  • Generates tax revenue by requiring receipts, discouraging Canada’s underground economy;
  • Offers young people opportunities to learn a trade, of which there is a shortage;
  • Creates skilled jobs in every community across Canada.

The federal government subsidized the installation of hazardous asbestos insulation through its Canada Home Insulation Program (CHIP) in the 1970’s. Will you and your party support a Home Renovation Tax Credit to help consumers address this health issue while providing the above benefits?

Response by Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party – We need to combat the underground economy without burdening lawful businesses. Targeted tax credits are a great way to incentivize lawful business. We will reintroduce and expand the home renovation tax credit to create incentives for individuals and companies to make their homes and businesses more efficient and accessible by installing high-efficiency insulation, solar heating and electricity, energy-efficient appliances, and accessibility upgrades. We will unleash an army of carpenters, electricians and contractors to plug the energy leaks that increase greenhouse gases and costs in older public buildings, including schools, universities and hospitals. These changes alone will reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent nationwide.”

 “The Green Party will tackle the skills shortage by boosting access to apprentice programs in key trades. We will support those with skills to train youth through financial support to tradesmen in electricity, plumbing, carpentry, pipefitting, welding, and other trades. We will also look to expand industry-based job training and apprenticeship programs.”

 3. Capital Gains Tax Deferral

In the past 20 years, only 11% of Canada’s new housing stock has been rentals. Deferring Capital Gains Tax can increase investment in rentals and affordable housing. Will you and your party support deferral of the capital gains tax on property sales when the proceeds are reinvested in new rental construction and affordable housing?

Response by Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party –We have a solid plan to the address the problem of affordable housing by taking the following measures: revising the mandate of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to include the responsibility of creating affordable housing (with renewed funds to help support this mandate), creating the position of Minister of Housing to oversee housing issues across the country, and working with all levels of government to establish a National Affordable Housing Program.”

“The Green Party would provide subsidies to developers in order to create affordable housing and rental units in all new developments. This could include a tax break such as the deferral of the capital gains tax on property sales but there are also other options on the table. For example, we can spur the creation of affordable and rental housing by mandating an annual rate of building affordable housing units.” 

“We will also make changes to the Income Tax Act to offer tax cuts for affordable housing through incentives that will stimulate construction and investment in the sector. Again, a capital gains tax deferral is certainly a possibility in this regard.” 

  1. Regulatory Changes and Costs on New Housing

New homes are safe, healthy and energy efficient. Additional new regulations and costs offer negligible benefits and continue to erode affordability for young families, especially in BC – the most expensive market in Canada. Will you and your party:

  • Make affordability the priority for entry-level housing;
  • Support a cost/benefit review of existing regulations on affordability;
  • Create a National Housing Affordability Committee comprised of industry, government and public representatives empowered to assess and approve or disapprove, (based on a thorough cost/benefit analysis,) new regulations on entry-level housing in the National Building Code?

Response by Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party – “The Green Party believes that home builders must be consulted when regulatory changes increase the cost of homes. New changes relating to seismic and energy issues are being too broadly applied, needlessly raising the price of a new home. We need to apply regulations where they make sense and keep affordability in mind.”

“Green MPs will advocate harmonizing building codes and standards, trades qualifications and home performance labelling across provinces and territories.”

“The Green Party is committed to affordable housing. Access to affordable, safe, and secure housing is an essential prerequisite to an equitable society. However, Canada is the only country in the OECD without a National Housing Strategy. Greens will implement a National Housing Strategy based on Housing First principles, quickly providing people experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness with the stable housing they need and ensuring access to additional supports as needed.”

“Housing crosses all jurisdictions. To facilitate federal leadership, a Council of Canadian Governments – representing the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments – would meet to consult with stakeholders and draft a comprehensive strategy.”

There are no responses so far.

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