Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has tabled a new housing bill on Wednesday that would give bonuses to “high-cost cities” if they meet their new housing targets.
The Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act is a bill that attempts to speed up the construction of housing to alleviate the current housing crisis.
Poilievre’s bill also intends to reward Canadian municipalities that vastly exceed their housing targets by granting them money reallocated from the Trudeau government’s Housing Accelerator Fund.
The new legislation hopes to enact a clear target of new homes to be completed through the country’s largest cities – Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa. The housing target is to be increased annually by 15% and be funded by money set aside for federal infrastructure with specific amounts allocated based on each city’s targets.
It would also allow the federal government to reserve the right to adjust infrastructure funding in the event of unforeseen circumstances, like a war, natural disaster or economic recession that would prevent a city from reaching their target for any particular year.
Municipalities could also become eligible to receive money from a $100 million dollar pot if they “greatly exceed housing targets,” states the bill.
The bill is unlikely to pass unless another party in the House of Commons throws its support to the legislation. However, the bill does signal what housing legislation from a potential Conservative government might look like.
Houses built would be required to be in close proximity to public transit and federal funding for transit would be “held in trust” until “high-density residential housing is substantially occupied on available land around federally funded transit projects’ stations.”
Another stipulation for cities to receive funding under the bill would be that they “not unduly restrict or delay the approval of building permits for housing.” If an “eligible person who has reasonable grounds” to suggest that building permits have been prolonged or prohibited, they would be able to submit a complaint to the federal government.
Executives who don’t meet their housing targets or have applications for new housing construction treated within an average 60 day period, will be liable to be punished by having their bonuses withdrawn.
Poilievre also seeks to amend the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act so that members of its executive committee would be denied bonuses if the national target of a 15% increase isn’t met for each year.
If applications for new construction take longer than 60 days to be approved or rejected for more than a six month period, executives of the committee will have their salaries cut by 50%.
There will also be a GST rebate included in the bill for new residential rental properties that offer rent which is “below market rate.”
The bill would also force the federal government to provide a report of inventory, regarding what federal buildings and land could potentially be used for housing construction and to sell off at least 15% to developers, with some exceptions.
The minister of environment would have to certify that this potential land was not “ecologically sensitive” or located within one of the country’s national parks before it could be sold off.
Once eligible, the federal properties would have to be available in the housing market within 12 months of being identified in the report.
Housing Minister Sean Fraser criticized aspects of the bill saying that while he agreed with the 60 day timeline regarding application response from the CMHC, he disapproved of slashing the GST on select rental properties.
“They say it’s about building homes and not bureaucracy, but they would have to insert a level of administrative capacity to identify which units get approved in order to identify who is going to benefit from the limited exemption of GST that they’re providing,” said Fraser, according to the National Post.
Fraser also said that the government does not plan to support the new legislation.