In a study published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and released on Wednesday (May 18), CCPA senior economist Marc Lee said that the Canadian government on the federal and provincial levels can act on the issue decisively via social housing funding to the tune of around 5,000 to 10,000 units annually.
As reported by Wanyee Li of CBC News
, the study noted that to reliably address the crisis, the central and local governments should aim to maintain at least $200 million worth of social housing every year.
The report added that such measures would significantly cool down the inflamed situation in the highly competitive residential real estate sector by helping at least 145,000 households who spend a disproportionate amount of their income on housing, and at least 3,000 homeless individuals in the Metro Vancouver area alone.
“The surge in real estate prices has further increased the gap between rich and poor, creating profits for homeowners that are more like lottery winnings than a reward for hard work,” the CCPA’s Lee said in a press release.
In addition, Lee suggested a progressive property tax system as well as an increase in the taxes levied on foreign investors, who have been repeatedly blamed by various quarters for the out-of-control price growth in Canada’s most in-demand metropolitan markets.
Lee clarified that such taxes should not be applied on the basis of foreign nationality alone, though.
“We should welcome people who are immigrants, who want to live and work in the city. But I think it is a problem when we have growing amounts of absentee ownership, where people are essentially treating the city's housing market as a place to park their capital,” he explained.
A recent study emphasized the government’s central role in addressing Canada’s long-festering home affordability crisis as soon as possible, with social housing in particular being a top-priority item for authorities to consider.