Under pressure to address widespread concerns about the increasing cost of living in Canada and questions about his leadership, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a series of new measures on September 14 to tackle rising housing and food prices.
These announcements came after a recent closed-door meeting of the Liberal Party held in London, Ontario, where the government’s challenges and political fortunes were widely discussed.
Elimination of GST for Rental Housing
In the announcement, Prime Minister Trudeau revealed that the federal government would eliminate the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the construction of new rental housing units. This move aims to stimulate new development in the housing sector, especially in the rental market. The government hopes this will lead to the creation of thousands of new housing units in the coming years.
Zoning Exemption Policy
Furthermore, the Liberal Party will now require city governments to repeal or amend zoning exemption policies if they wish to access the government’s Housing Acceleration Fund. This fund is designed to encourage municipal governments to streamline zoning regulations and expedite residential real estate construction processes.
Food Price Stability
To address concerns about grocery prices, Prime Minister Trudeau has called on large grocery store chains to develop short-term plans to stabilize prices. He warned that if these companies fail to provide a viable plan by Thanksgiving 2023, the government will take steps to address the escalating food price situation.
Empowering the Competition Bureau
Moreover, the federal government plans to enact legislation empowering the Competition Bureau to ensure that business mergers and acquisitions do not adversely affect the affordability of goods and services for consumers.
In response to these announcements, the New Democratic Party (NDP) welcomed the elimination of GST for new rental housing projects but criticized the government for the delayed implementation of this measure. Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre also supported the idea and intends to introduce his party’s modified version of GST changes in an upcoming bill. As housing and food prices continue to rise, the government is taking action to address these urgent issues. These measures are part of a broader strategy to alleviate the financial burden on Canadian citizens and restore their purchasing power.