Photo: James Bombales

The housing platforms brought forward by Canada’s main political parties this election are not enough to create more housing, according to a report published by Generation Squeeze.

Generation Squeeze is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for young Canadians through research and providing expert advice to governments.

With the housing market a keystone item in the 2021 national election, the organization examined how closely each party platform will get us to the goal of achieving housing affordability. Gen Squeeze’s 2021 Platform Analysis focused on four federal political parties — the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Green Party.

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The non-profit explained that it worked alongside academic and community experts to create a policy framework with 15 action items aimed at fixing the housing system. In the report, the action items were organized under five different categories of housing affordability criteria, including outlining clear goals and principles, scaling up non-market housing, fixing the regular market, breaking the addiction to high home values and any additional requirements. The four political parties were then awarded points based on their platform’s response to each of the 15 framework items, ranging from -1.0 to 1.0 points.

Out of a total possible score of 16, the Liberal party scored the highest with 10.5 points, followed by the Green Party with a score of 6.0 and the NDP with 5.5 points. The Conservatives ranked in fourth place with a score of 4.0 points out of 16.

In response to their own question “Is any party doing enough to end the housing affordability crisis?” Gen Squeeze concluded that “No party is proposing to do enough to restore housing affordability for all.”

“None of the Party platforms address all 15,” said the report. “As a result, there is reason to remain concerned that the large gap between housing costs and local earnings will persist.”

“None of the parties propose to restore affordability for all by adapting policies so home prices will stall in order to give earnings a chance to catch up,” the report added.

Photo: James Bombales

The federal election is now less than a week away. To date, the four parties have put forward a variety of policies targeted at boosting home supply and making the market more accessible, which includes proposals to control foreign ownership, new construction and infrastructure projects, and turning underutilized properties into housing.

Gen Squeeze noted in its report that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) set a goal in the National Housing Strategy that by 2030, everyone in Canada will have a home that meets their needs and that they can afford.

“Gen Squeeze has put this goal at the centre of our housing solutions game plan,” said the report. “We believe parties should adopt this, or a similarly clear and ambitious goal.”

The non-profit stated that all parties recognize the crisis within the Canadian housing system, which is a welcome acknowledgement of the industry’s challenges.

“But none explicitly commits to ensuring affordable housing for all Canadians within a specific timeline. So no party receives a full point for this criterion,” the report stated.

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