CONCERNS OVER HOUSING, ENVIRONMENT TAKE DIFFERENT TURNS AS CANADIANS FEEL FINANCIAL STRAIN
Housing has become the second highest area of concern for Canadians, closely following inflation, according to weekly tracking by Nanos Research.
The polling firm tracks unprompted issues of concern for Canadians every week. As of Oct. 13, 18.3 per cent of Canadians surveyed said inflation was their top area of concern, followed by 14 per cent who listed housing and 11 per cent who cited jobs and the economy.
The last time Nanos tracked Canadians on their top issues of concern, the environment was in the second place spot, just behind inflation.
In October, however, as Canadians continued to face widespread financial strain, environmental concern slipped to fifth place on the list, with only 7.9 per cent of respondents saying it was their top priority, compared to 13.8 per cent in September.
Health care is only slightly higher than the environment on the list of Canadians’ priorities this month, with 8.4 per cent of Canadians citing it as their top area of concern.
“Those (issues) have been trending down in the last four-to-eight weeks as Canadians are increasingly focused on economic issues with housing and inflation basically being at the top of the list,” said Nik Nanos, CTV’s official pollster and Nanos Research founder, in an interview with CTV News’ Trend Line.
TRUST IN A TIME OF CRISIS
Canada is in the midst of what many experts have labelled a housing crisis, with Canadians facing high housing costs due to climbing real estate prices over the past decade and severely declining rental options.
A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found no one earning minimum wage was able to rent an average apartment last year without spending more than one-third of their income on housing.
And an analysis published in May by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. found Canada has the highest level of household debt in the G7, with mortgages making up about three-quarters of household debt in this country.
With housing the top source of angst among Canadians right now, Nanos asked which party voters trusted most to address the issue.
The data found more Canadians would choose the NDP over any other party when it comes to affordable housing policy, at 26 per cent, followed by the Conservatives, at 25 per cent and the Liberals, at 16 per cent. As many as 19 per cent don’t trust any party, and six per cent aren’t sure.
“So I guess if you roll those up, one out of every four Canadians say, ‘a pox on you all. We don’t trust anyone or are unsure who to trust on the housing front,'” Nanos said.
While NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has spent the summer touting his party’s housing plans — and touched on them during his speech at the NDP convention in Hamilton, On. last week — he’s also prioritized getting the Liberals to move forward on a national pharmacare plan before the end of the year.
“It looks like the NDP want to firmly focus on health care issues,” Nanos said. “They had the dental plan right before that they managed to pass, and Jagmeet Singh has come out of his convention and said that he wants to focus on pharmacare.”
Housing, meanwhile, appears to be the party’s second-highest priority. In its current platform, the NDP promises to create “at least 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing” in the next 10 years, re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first time home buyers and waive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units.
The party has also promised to introduce a 20 per cent foreign buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to individuals who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
While the Conservatives fall a single point behind the NDP when it comes to the preferred party to deal with housing, and the Liberals lag behind them both by nearly 10 points, both have focused on housing as a key issue over the summer.
The Liberals promise to establish a rent-to-own program and commit $1 billion in loans and grants to develop rent-to-own projects.
The party also promises to introduce a tax-free First Home Savings Account with a ceiling of $40,000 for people under 40; double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit from $5,000 to $10,000; reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25 per cent; increase funding to the National Housing Co-Investment fund by $2.7 billion over four years; scrap the GST on new purpose-built rentals; and temporarily ban new foreign ownership in Canadian housing, among other things.
As part of its July cabinet shuffle, the Liberal government merged the housing file with infrastructure to establish the new Ministry of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, and Nova Scotia MP Sean Fraser emerged from the shuffle as the new minister responsible for housing. Nanos said this move was likely a bid by the Liberals to be more competitive on housing.
“(It) probably speaks to the Liberals wanting to lay groundwork for them to engage on the housing file so that they don’t get hammered or are at a disadvantage compared to both the New Democrats and the Conservatives,” Nanos said.
The Tories’ housing promises, meanwhile, appear to centre around the party’s proposed Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said last month the act would require cities to increase the number of homes built by 15 per cent each year, compounding on the previous year’s target.
It would also provide a building bonus for municipalities that exceed a 15 per cent increase in housing completions; withhold transit and infrastructure funding from cities until they’ve built sufficient high-density housing around transit stations; waive the GST on new homes with rental prices below market value; and list approximately 5,550 buildings owned by the federal government – or 15 per cent of all buildings owned by the government – to be turned into affordable housing.
Story by: CTV News