Can any party fix housing in Canada? Not with their current platforms, analysis finds

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None of the national parties that won seats in the last federal election have proposed a platform that would ensure housing affordability for all Canadians, according to a non-partisan housing affordability research group.

Generation Squeeze has scored the platforms of the federal Conservative, Liberal, New Democratic and Green parties across 16 dimensions that correspond to its comprehensive policy framework for housing affordability.

While some of the parties' proposals align with more of the framework's "action items" than others, none of the platforms do everything that would be necessary to fix housing in Canada, according to Generation Squeeze

Of particular concern, according to the researchers, is that no party has pledged to stop real estate prices from rising.

"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," reads the organization's analysis.

Generation Squeeze is a national umbrella organization for numerous initiatives focused on "intergenerational fairness," particularly with regard to housing, family and climate change policies.

The analysis of party platforms comes from the Generation Squeeze Research and Knowledge Translation Lab, part of the UBC School of Population and Public Health.

The 16 dimensions analyzed in the report are divided into five groups, with each party receiving zero points if they make no commitments on the issue, half a point if they make commitments that are "somewhat capable" of achieving the goal, and one point if their commitments are capable of achieving the goal.

Commitments that are detrimental to the goal in question can receive negative points.

The areas scored are:

Clear goals and principles

  • Do the platforms advance the goal of all Canadians being able to afford a home by 2030?
  • Do the platforms recognize housing as a human right?
  • Do the platforms demonstrate a commitment to the principle of Homes First, Investments Second?
  • Do the platforms make room for everyone?

Scale-up non-market housing

  • Do the platforms protect and upgrade existing non-market homes?
  • Do the platforms create new non-market homes?
  • Do the platforms create new strategies to serve the most vulnerable?

Fix the regular market

  • Do the platforms include action to dial down harmful demand by ...
    • Dialing down more obvious problems?
    • Resisting dialing up incentives to borrow and bid more?
  • Do the platforms include action to dial up the right kind of supply?
  • Do the platforms dial up protections for renters and rental housing?

Break the addiction to high home values

  • Do the platforms help Canadians to earn money on things other than housing?
  • Do the platforms support decreasing income taxes, and increase wealth taxes?
  • Do the platforms cushion the impact of a price drop?

Additional requirements

  • Do the platforms propose actions to improve housing governance?
  • Do the platforms include actions to improve housing data?

Generation Squeeze provides written analysis of each party's performance on each of these metrics, and an explanation for why it assigned each one the score it did.

The organization also notes that it welcomes feedback and clarification from the parties themselves, and may revise scores if presented with new evidence from the parties on their commitments.

In all, the Conservative Party's plans scored 4 out of a possible 16 points. The NDP and Greens fared only slightly better, scoring 5.5 and 6, respectively. The Liberal Party's platform reached 10.5 points, making it the one that comes the closest to meeting Generation Squeeze's housing affordability framework.

The housing report is the first of four analyses of party platforms that Generation Squeeze plans to publish, and the group notes that it does not make recommendations about how people should vote.

"We have a genuine desire for all parties to improve the scores they receive according to our evidence-based evaluation system, because all Canadians will benefit from better policies to address housing and family affordability, climate change and wellbeing budgeting," the organization says in its methodology.