Liberals’ Decision To Extend Ban On Foreign Homeownership Draws Criticism, Exposes Glaring Issues

On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland announced that the federal government is intending to extend the two-year ban on foreign ownership of Canadian housing by another two years.

The existing ban, first announced in December 2022, is set to expire on January 1, 2025. It will be extended to January 1, 2027. The ban was implemented in an effort to help ease the housing crisis. It prohibits foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from buying residential property in Canada.

Except does it, really? The announcement only seems to have brought more anguish over the Liberals’ chaotic handling of the housing crisis to light. One X user highlighted the ban’s many exemptions, suggesting that it really isn’t much of a ban when it practically only prevents foreigners who aren’t already staying in the country from buying property. 

Another highlighted the hypocrisy of government officials who are heavily invested in rental properties. A 2022 review of filings from MPs revealed that nearly a third hold rental and investment properties.

In May last year, a grade 8 student started a petition to ban then Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen from investing in the housing market, alleging that his personal financial interests create a conflict of interest and undermine his ability to effectively regulate the housing market.

Saad Baig, a government relations consultant meanwhile, presented a hot take, saying foreign ownership can solve the need to boost pre-construction sales. He suggests that instead of banning them, the government should just impose “a very significant vacant unit tax to ensure these come to market as rentals.”

“Many condo projects aren’t moving forward because they can’t hit pre-sale targets required to secure construction financing. Developments have stalled,” Baig explained. “The cost of building (land, labour, materials, govt fees/charges) is way too high to accommodate any meaningful price reduction that would still be able to secure financing. “

Freeland’s announcement also attracted allegations of the Liberals distracting people from what he called “foreign ownership of Canadian politicians.”

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