As Canadians continued to navigate the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, REALTORS® were once again hard at work advocating for homeowners, striving to keep the dream of homeownership alive. Despite the many twists and turns, including a snap election with a re-elected Liberal government, REALTORS® demonstrated strength during yet another year of unknowns.
REALTOR® advocacy successes began early in 2021, when CREA released its white paper: The Homeownership Dividend for Canadians. This paper outlines the financial and non-financial benefits of owning a home and was used as part of our spring Political Action Committee (PAC) at Home campaign, where PAC representatives from boards and associations across Canada reached out to their Members of Parliament (MP). The information they shared from the white paper helped to frame a positive conversation around homeownership, demonstrating not only the financial benefits to homeowners, but also the benefits to broader society.
More from CREA Café:
- The Value of Homeownership Extends Beyond Your Four Walls
- Health and Happiness: The Societal Benefits of Homeownership
- How Homeownership Can Reduce Inequality
- A Closer Look at REALTOR® Successes During the 43rd Parliament
- Federal Election 2021: REAL Ideas for Housing Supply
- What Federal Party Platforms Say About Housing
- Un-PACing the Election at PAC Days 2021
- Report Suggests Banning Blind Bidding Will Increase Home Prices
Successes continued with the federal government committing to various green home initiatives as a direct result of REALTOR® advocacy. April’s Federal Budget demonstrated the government’s commitment to homeowners, with investments to make homes more energy efficient, while helping to fight climate change. It also included the implementation of a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry, which assists REALTORS® in their efforts to eliminate money-laundering activities in the housing market. Shortly thereafter, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced an update to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, giving first-time buyers more buying power when purchasing their first home.
In June, CREA’s CEO Michael Bourque, alongside leaders and key stakeholders from the Canadian real estate and housing industries, sat down for a roundtable discussion with the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development*. Both ministers took the opportunity to reaffirm the federal government’s commitments to housing affordability.
Governor General Mary Simon approved Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request to dissolve Parliament on Sunday, August 15, triggering the issuing of the election writs and formally beginning Canada’s 44th federal election.
As a result of CREA’s advocacy efforts in recent years, housing supply became top of mind for every political party during this fall election. Competitive markets continued to put homeownership out of reach for many Canadians, giving the REALTOR® community an important position to stand up for the interests of Canadian homeowners. REALTORS® were able to bring focus to housing issues through many resources, including CREA’s election website REALideas.ca.
On the website we laid out our 2021 REALTOR® recommendations. These recommendations aimed to address Canada’s current housing challenges. The REALTOR® community was able to take these recommendations into their own constituencies, and share the ideas via social media, all-candidates events, and virtual or in-person meetings with local candidates. These efforts proved to be successful, as almost all parties presented robust housing agendas in their platforms, and clearly understood the key REALTOR® message: only increased supply will solve the housing crisis.
More than 450 members of the REALTOR® community gathered virtually on Monday, October 25 to unpack the federal election at CREA’s annual PAC Days. PAC representatives from across the country met virtually with newly elected MPs, successfully highlighting the issue of housing supply and the importance of working towards a more sustainable housing sector for all Canadians.
Even though the 43rd Parliament had just been dissolved and the newly elected MPs were not yet sitting in the House of Commons, CREA’s government relations team was able to secure more than 90 MP meetings to discuss current housing issues. Additionally, participants enjoyed an afternoon of exciting programming. Featuring top-level political columnists, media experts and political strategists, PAC Reps had the chance to enjoy annual conference favourites such as the Inside the Political Backrooms panel, featuring Kathleen Monk, Tim Powers, and Amanda Alvaro, and the PAC Days Media Panel, featuring Chantal Hébert, Don Martin and Rob Russo.
In addition to these entertaining and informative panels, the day also featured a keynote presentation from former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney. Participants also got the opportunity to hear from the current leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh in conversation with CREA Chair Cliff Stevenson.
On Tuesday, October 26, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the creation of the Ministry of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion during the cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. This appointment is recognition of the urgent nature of the housing crisis in Canada, and CREA looks forward to our continued work with Minister Hussen to develop policies to address housing supply and affordability in Canada.
End of year advocacy wins
As we neared the end of 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Freeland tabled the first economic statement for the 44th parliamentary session. This Fall Economic and Fiscal Update presented a host of spending measures intended to support Canada in its continued response against the COVID-19 pandemic and long-term recovery.
The Liberal government recognized housing as a priority for Canadians, namely those looking to enter the housing market and buy their first home. The update renewed the government’s commitment to increasing housing supply through various streams of funding and acknowledged that delivering housing solutions to Canadians requires a joint working effort between the federal, provincial, and municipal jurisdictions.
As we look forward in 2022, we recognize these successes wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our PAC Reps and REALTOR® communities.
Get involved today!
Are you interested in becoming a PAC representative? Learn more about how you can become the face and voice for your REALTOR® community and bring industry knowledge into discussions with political decision makers. Contact your local Association Executive or CREA’s government relations team at email@example.com to get started.