Restrict Foreign Ownership of Canadian Residential Real Estate
The Issue: Canadian home prices (particularly in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto and their surrounding cities) are increasing at historical levels, making owning and even renting a home in such areas out of reach not only for the average working Canadian, but even a number of high income earners such as lawyers and doctors. The driving factor behind these super inflated housing prices has been resoundingly attributed to a massive influx of foreign money predominately from mainland China. For a country like Canada so strongly built on a solid foundation of social justice and equal opportunity, it is even more troubling to hear of the fraudulent methods that a growing number of extremely wealthy foreigners are using to transfer their money into Canada, while our government seems to simply turn a blind eye. Lastly, the environmental impact caused by the 1-2 hr commute each day by a multitude of Canadian workers forced to live more than 50 kms from their workplace must also not be overlooked.
The Solution: Canada needs to place greater restrictions and tax requirements on foreign ownership and foreign speculation in Canada. 1) Non-citizens of Canada should be restricted to owning only one residential property which shall either be rented or used as their primary residence with annual verification. 2) Canada Revenue Agency needs to close the loophole allowing wealthy foreigners to claim 'non-resident' status in Canada to avoid paying Canadian income tax. Worldwide income tax needs to be accurately collected from wealthy foreign investors who earn money outside of Canada while owning Canadian property and have family living and benefiting from being in Canada. 3) To further discourage residential real estate speculation, a high (30-40%) speculation tax of capital gains on a sliding scale should be implemented should the property be sold within the first 3 years. This speculation tax shall be applicable to ALL foreign residential property sellers and only on Canadian sellers non-primary residences. 4) If you purchase residential real estate in Canada, and are not a Canadian citizen, ONLY the verified purchaser's birth name can be used on title for the property. It cannot be a corporation,a trust, a nominee, a relative, or anyone else. The purchaser must also submit a min. 3 years of income taxes from their home country for verification and approval by the Canadian government as a prerequisite to any such residential real estate purchase.
Why are these changes needed and what's at risk: London, Australia, Hong Kong and China already have residential foreign investment policies in place to protect their citizens. Canada is way behind. True, many people will lose a significant portion of the inflated equity in their homes should foreign ownership/speculation be restricted, but just imagine how much greater the impact will be the moment the bubble bursts, property values plummet, and the floodgates of foreign wealth have NOT yet been shut? There will be no stopping it, nor will there ever again be any chance of recovery at that point. It is critical that Canadians look at the bigger picture. Where will our children live if we continue to sell-out our next generation for a quick buck now? Though, there is currently 'limited data' released to the public about exactly who the majority of these foreign investor are, it is undeniable if you have ever lived in the cities most affected like Vancouver or Toronto over the last 10 years.
Accumulating vast business wealth in countries like China or India is far easier than in Canada because of the modern day slave-type labour and/or lack of safety and environmental regulations in such countries. By allowing foreigners to take this ill-earned or socially unjust money from these countries and transfuse it freely into the heart of what truly makes Canada beautiful is like saying we are okay with their way of life and ill treatment of our planet. The Canadian real estate market is now the world's stock market and anyone who's bought in the last 5 years knew the risks and knows that you can't make historical profits without those extreme risks. What goes up, must come down and the longer we wait to correct the problem, the greater the magnitude of it's devastation when it hits rock bottom.
Ask yourself, what truly made Canada the most beautiful place to live? Was it new fancy shopping malls, luxury hotels and condos, or over-manicured landscape dividing our traffic? Or was it the people, the natural beauty, the freedom and the feeling we felt knowing no matter where your neighbor came from, TOGETHER we all had the same pride of ownership knowing that we all contributed and shared a common goal in making and keeping Canada 'glorious and free'? Then ask yourself, does open foreign ownership and speculation of our home and native land help or hinder the future of the very essence of CANADA and ALL Canadians (from all parts of the globe) living here?
I am not a professional on the subject only a concerned Canadian father with children whom I worry will not be able to afford to live close to their own family or birthplace as they grow because of our own generations complacency on the matter. I want my children to feel included in Canada, but by financially forcing Canadian family's and its dedicated workforce further and further away from the cities they grew up in, I fear the feeling of exclusion will be far more resound. As Canadians, I believe we are better than this, and it is our responsibility to stop it.
What Canadians can do about it: Please provide your support by signing this petition calling on action to be taken by the Prime Minister of Canada to restrict foreign ownership and speculation and keep Canada a place that ALL Canadians can proudly call home today AND tomorrow.
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