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Ruby Sahota

How does your party intend to support first-time home buyers and new Canadians who are struggling to find affordable housing that meets their needs?

The Liberal Party, which I am proud to be a member of, firmly believes that every Canadian deserves access to safe and affordable housing. That was why during our first mandate we launched Canada's first-ever National Housing Strategy. Over the next 10 years the Strategy is going to reduce chronic homelessness by 50%, remove over 530,000 Canadians from housing need, create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and, starting in 2020, offset rental costs by an average of $2,500 per year with the new Canada Housing Benefit.

The National Housing Strategy is already at work right here in Brampton. Brampton Bramalea Christian Fellowship Residences Ltd., for example, is building a 6-storey affordable housing building with the help of $13.75 million in financial commitments from the federal government.

Our Liberal Government launched the First Time Home Buyers Incentive to help make home ownership more affordable for first-time home buyers. The Incentive provides buyers who have up to $120,000 in household income with up to 10% of the home's price through a shared equity mortgage.

 The current version of the Home Buyer's Incentive only lets you borrow up to four times your household income, setting a maximum mortgage of just under $500,000. Recognizing that cities like Brampton and Toronto face higher housing prices than the rest of the country, the Liberal Party is proposing to expand the Incentive in select areas so that first-time buyers can access homes valued at almost $790,000. This change would apply to the Greater Toronto Area including Brampton, Vancouver, and Victoria.
 

The mortgage stress test is impacting individuals and families in your riding. What adjustment do you feel should be implemented to address the negative consequences?

For many middle class Canadians, their home is the most important investment they will make in their lifetime. The Liberal Party knows how important it is to protect that investment. This is why we have worked over the last 4 years to contain risks in the housing market and support long-term affordability by:

  • Increasing down payment requirements in December 2015 to address pockets of risk in Toronto and Vancouver;
  • Bringing consistency to mortgage rules by standardizing stress tests for both low and high ratio mortgages;
  • Improving tax fairness by ensuring that the principal residence exemption is available only in appropriate

The Liberal Government’s commitment to protect and improve stress-testing requirements has contributed to the reduction of house prices by 3.4% nationally, and an even higher 5.3% in Toronto. Critically, between 2016 and 2018, there was a notable decline in the share of new mortgages going to highly indebted households.

As Brampton North’s Member of Parliament I listened to the concerns of my constituents regarding what impact the stress test would have on their ability to fulfill their Canadian dream to buy a home. I understand their concerns, which is why I am proud of our Liberal Government’s extensive efforts to improve housing affordability over the last four years including the First Time Home-Buyer’s Incentive. If re-elected, the Liberals and I will keep working with our provincial and municipal counterparts to monitor the market, protect Canadians’ financial and economic stability, and make housing more affordable for Canadians.

Housing supply continues to be a significant issue in many markets across the country. What should the federal government do to help with housing supply issues?

Housing supply is ultimately an issue where all levels of government must step up to help address. Over the past four years, the Liberals and I have made it clear that we are committed to doing our part.

The National Housing Strategy is a critical part of the Liberal Government’s efforts to address housing supply issues across the country. As I mentioned in my response to Question 1, over the next 10 years the Strategy will create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units, and ultimately remove up to 530,000 Canadians from housing need.

To give an example of how the Strategy is achieving this, the Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) is supporting projects that help create more affordable rental housing. Our first investment in the program increased the loans provided by from $2.5 billion to $3.75 billion over the three years; this investment alone will create more than 14,000 new rental units across the country. In Budget 2019, we added an additional $10 billion to the RCFI over the next ten years, which will help create at least 42,000 new rental units.

The National Housing Co-Investment Fund meanwhile, another National Housing Strategy Initiative, is creating 60,000 new units across Canada and repairing 240,000 more. This is the funding stream that is supporting the Brampton Bramalea Christian Fellowship Residences Ltd.’s 6-storey affordable housing building project.

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