Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory convened on April 18 to discuss their shared concern over housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
This was the first in a series of agreed quarterly meetings on the topic of GTA housing issues and affordability. The meetings signal increased collaboration by the three levels of government, including immediately taking action to address data gaps and support the proper functioning of the housing market.
“Our meeting is an important step forward in addressing Torontonians’ concern about growing household debt, rapidly rising house prices and their ability to afford a home of their own,” said Minister Morneau, in a press release. “Our Government has already taken action to deal with pockets of risk, but we remain concerned with the housing price increases in the GTA, the implications for the market, and the impact on middle class families. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Minister Sousa and Mayor Tory to coordinate our actions to address this ongoing challenge.”
In a statement, Minister Sousa added that the provincial government is aware that a response is needed now to address recent dramatic increases in rents and home prices. He noted that the government would be announcing a suite of measures designed to increase supply and address demand, making housing more affordable for Ontarians.
In addition, the Canada Revenue Agency plans to dedicate resources to ensuring the compliance of the GTA’s real estate sector with tax laws. Through the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), the federal government is also working to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering rules.
Short term, all three levels of government agreed to refrain from introducing new measures for buyers which would impact housing prices in the GTA by boosting demand. Minister Morneau also plans to share relevant housing data more frequently between governments to enhance understanding of the Ontario housing market and to help all levels of government determine whether new measures may be needed to boost housing affordability and market stability.