Making housing more affordable for Canadians
Thank you so much, Tim, for your warm words, but thank you also for your great work here as MP. I want to thank as well, our colleagues from the region, Bardish, Valerie and Bryan, and also highlight Berry’s presence.
Mayor Vrbanovic, it’s a great to see you again. We’ve worked together for many, many years. I’m glad to have you as part of this announcement because it really is important that all orders of government work together in constructive ways. I think we’ve managed to demonstrate that over the past years, many, many times in many ways, but there’s a lot more to do as always.
And that was something we talked about when I sat down with Shawn and Caroline and Ian and Aline and their kids to talk about the challenges they’re facing as communities. Obviously, Shawn and Caroline have a beautiful home here that they bought a number of years ago, but there’s a recognition that as families look to get into the housing market right now, it’s getting more and more difficult, and even as families save up and work hard, every passing year seems to get housing further and further away from them. And that’s one of the big challenges around affordability that we’re focused on with Budget 2022, and that’s very much what I want to talk about today.
We know that housing is a real challenge, not just here in Kitchener, but right across the country, and that’s where we need to work together to solve it. We need to work together, different orders of government; we need to make sure we’re there to support families, because getting a house into a home, building a strong future for yourselves, for your kids, should be something accessible to all families across this country, and more and more it’s just not.
We also know it’s a complex problem without having any one simple solution, and that’s why we’re moving forward, and have been over the past years, with many different programs and approaches that are tailored to meet different needs across the country.
In Budget 2022, we’re focused on three main pillars.
There are three pillars to our approach to addressing the housing crisis: we will increase the supply by working in partnership with municipalities; we will increase families’ ability to save with a new first home savings account; and we will address unfair speculative practices that make it extremely difficult for families to enter the market these days.
We’re focused on three pillars: supply, savings, and cutting down on speculation.
Around supply we’re going to work, as we have been, with partners in municipalities to move forward on the Housing Accelerator Fund. And what this is, is $4 billion designed to help cities and towns right across the country increase the supply of housing, whether it’s issues around permits or zoning, whether it’s land use studies, whether it’s just accelerating incentives for construction. These are the kinds of things we’re going to be working on with the cities because we know we need to double the new housing starts in this country over the next 10 years, and that’s what this plan is going to do.
We’re also going to continue with an extremely successful program called the Rapid Housing Initiative that has allowed for thousands upon thousands of new homes and new properties to be built over the past couple of years that will allow for thousands more, very rapidly, to ease off on some of the pressures that families are facing.
We’re also going to support with savings, and the big vehicle for that in Budget 2022 is a $40,000-tax-free savings account for the purchase of a first home. And this account is tax-free on the way in and tax-free on the way out as you buy your first home, so this is going to help incentivize and support families as they save up for that first down payment.
There’s also other measures that we’ve put in over the years that’ll be there to help people save, but we know that saving up for that first home is really important.
The third pillar is recognizing that even if there’s a house there, even if you’ve saved up for it, there are unfair practices in the real estate market that we need to push back on. First of all, far too many homes in this country are being bought by foreign investors looking at housing as an asset class as opposed to a place to raise a family, and that’s something we need to crack down on, so we’re going to ban foreign buyers in homes for the next two years to make sure that Canadians have an opportunity to buy their homes and not see homes’ prices driven up as asset classes.
The other thing we’re going to do is make sure we’re standing up for home buyers with the Home Buyers Bill of Rights, it’s… and a crackdown on unfair practices like blind bidding and others that just make it so difficult and heart-wrenching as people are trying to find their first home.
These are all measures that are concretely moved forward over the coming years in easing the pressures on families and giving people an opportunity to be confident, not just about their future, but about their kids’ future as well.
And that’s something we talked about a lot as we were talking about climate change and we were talking about the various pressures on families, the challenges of inflation, the cost of living, while at the same time looking at how lucky we are in Canada that we were there for each other as much as we were through this pandemic. As we come out of it, we have an opportunity to build stronger, more resilient communities, and that’s exactly what we’re focused on with Budget 2022 and with everything we’re doing.
So it’s a great pleasure to be here today to share everything that we’re doing in terms of the cost of living, which is the focus of this budget, but we still have a lot of work to do, which we’ll do together in the coming years.