Feds applaud plan to cool Toronto housing market; won’t make it national policy

Morneau approves of Ontario housing plan

WASHINGTON — The federal government welcomes Ontario’s move to tax foreign home buyers in and around Toronto, but says it won’t be replicated on a national level because it’s unnecessary in the vast majority of the country. 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said his government was consulted in advance of the move by the Ontario government, which announced a 15-per-cent tax on foreign purchases in the hope of cooling a scorching-hot Toronto housing market.

It was one of multiple moves announced this week as part of a housing plan that replicates Vancouver’s foreign-purchase tax, expands rent control, allows municipalities to tax vacant properties and creates new layers of scrutiny for speculative purchases.

“There was nothing that surprised us in their announcement. We had discussed in broad strokes the measures they were moving forward with,” Morneau said Friday during a visit to Washington.

“The measures around trying to reduce speculation in the market, we think, are positive … We do believe there’s an important issue around psychology in the market that needs to be addressed — and Ontario is making progress.”

This week’s announcement generated considerable international media attention, with headlines from outlets such as the BBC and the New York Times about the Canadian city’s effort to cool its housing market.

But Morneau is adamant: there will be no similar plan at a national level.

That’s because the conditions that drove Toronto home prices up more than one-third in a year to an average value above $1 million simply don’t exist in most places.

“We have very different markets in different parts of the country. So the measures being taken are dealing with specific market conditions in places like Toronto and Vancouver,” Morneau said.

“That’s why we have not even considered these measures federally.”

Morneau made the remarks during a roundtable interview alongside global financial meetings in Washington.

Later Friday, he was to join Mexico’s finance minister at the NHL playoff game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals.

Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Happy ending to Tom Sawyer’s story

Happy ending to story of a cat left on the side of the road to die

Many Hats newest performer right on (comedic) time

Many Hats newest production in Penticton is the comedy, Buying the Moose

Art gallery heating things up with chilli cook-off

Penticton art gallery pits local chefs against one another for a fundraiser

Veteran reporter to stay at Global Okanagan

Blaine Gaffney was given a layoff notice after a miscommunication

Column: Disappointed by comments about local rally

Dustin Godfrey is a reporter for the Penticton Western News

What’s happening

Check out what is happening this weekend in the Okanagan-Shuswap.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Olympic dreams come true for South Okanagan coach

Penticton coach watches as his skier brings home the gold

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

Ski Patrol and SAR search for missing skier

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Most Read