The federal election is to take place on Monday, October 21. The polls show the Liberals and Conservatives tied for the lead, and a minority government seems almost certain. The balance of power will likely rest with some combination of the NDP, the Greens, or the Bloc.

The polls will be open for 12 hours on Monday. For more information, visit the Elections Canada website.

Read on for a comparison of the party platforms for the key federal areas that tend to affect rental housing providers in Canada the most, namely, taxation and housing policy.

For a full list of platform promises relevant to rental housing, please click here. Here are highlights:

  • Rental housing is not a key focus for proposed tax changes in the parties’ platforms.
    • However, the NDP and Greens would increase capital gains taxes and corporate taxes.
    • The Conservatives would reduce taxes on small business owners, and provide a small income tax reduction for all taxpayers.
    • The Liberals would reduce income taxes with a focus on taxpayers with incomes below $47,000.
  • Through the National Housing Strategy (NHS), the Liberals will provide incentives for new rental construction, and for social housing, and are implementing a Canada Housing Benefit.
  • The NDP and the Greens would expand social housing construction beyond the NHS levels.
  • The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP will make home ownership easier to access.

After the election, CFAA will be working to protect the rental housing industry, and to encourage policy that will stimulate the new rental supply which is needed in many areas.

Too often, Canada’s political parties are so focused on attracting votes from homeowners, that renters and landlords are ignored. CFAA has long advocated for reforms that would help attract investment in rental supply. The biggest stimulus measure would be tax reform. Examples of sound tax policy would include:

  • Avoiding increases in income taxes, capital gains taxes, and corporate taxes
  • Eliminating GST/HST on rental construction or operations
  • Increasing the capital cost allowance (CCA) rate for rental property
  • Allowing CCA deductions for rental housing against other income
  • Allowing rental housing to qualify for small business tax treatment, or at least the ordinary tax rates for corporations
  • Permitting building retrofits which adopt new energy saving technology to be claimed as current repairs (rather than as capital expenditures subject to the capital cost allowance provisions).

On housing policy, important steps are for the new or renewed government would be:

  • Maintaining the support for rental construction under the NHS, or equivalent stimulus, focused on areas which need new rental supply.
  • Funding a Portable Housing Benefit targeted to the people in greatest housing need.
  • Working with the provinces and municipalities to reduce regulatory barriers that discourage new rental housing construction.

To alleviate the current rental housing supply gap, Canada needs sustained, strategic policies by all three orders of government. Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months to learn more about CFAA’s objectives with the new federal government, and find out how you can help improve the investment environment for rental housing.