The results are in: Justin Trudeau has been re-elected as Canada's prime minister.
On Monday evening, Liberal Leader Trudeau won enough seats to form another minority government. However, the 49-year-old failed to secure the majority government Liberals had hoped for when Trudeau called the early election last month, instead essentially mirroring his election results from two years ago.
While many opposition leaders continue to question why Trudeau called a $610 million election in the middle of the fourth wave, Trudeau's win signals that Canadians still have enough trust in the Liberals to lead the country through its fight against COVID-19 and rebuild the economy.
As it stands, Trudeau has secured 158 seats, 12 seats shy of securing a majority. However, there are said to be another (approximately) 800,000 mail-in ballots that need to be counted, starting on Tuesday, which could further change the preliminary results in many of the tightly contested seats.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated Trudeau on Tuesday morning and called for unity and healing while promising to work with the newly elected Liberal government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For many, this has been an extremely difficult and divisive election and I would like to take this opportunity to urge unity. Emotions have run high as candidates from all parties debated pandemic policies, including vaccine certificates,” Ford said in a statement.
“I want to be clear: COVID-19 doesn’t care about partisanship or politics and I will continue to work closely with the Prime Minister. People elected our government to work in the best interests of Ontario, not in service of one political party over others.”
As part of his re-election campaign, the Liberal leader promised Canadians $10 a day child care, a bold action to fight climate change, stronger gun control, and more affordable housing, among others.
Throughout the brief 36-day campaign, housing was a top election issue. A prominent focus in most parties’ platforms was how to address the severe shortage of affordable housing in Canada, with the three leading parties promising to build more homes and make purchasing easier for Canadians while also making it harder for foreigners to buy residential properties.
In the lead-up to the election, Trudeau announced several new measures that would help Canadians be able to buy a home amid the nation's red-hot housing market that has made owning property a distant dream for many people. We've broken down every major promise below.
- Help young Canadians afford a down payment faster by introducing a tax-free First Home Savings Account that would allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 toward their first home and withdraw it tax-free to put toward their purchase, with no requirement to repay it.
- Double the first-time homebuyers tax credit from $5,000 to $10,000 -- an incentive that would help buyers with the many closing costs that come with buying property.
- To reduce mortgage costs, a Liberal-led government would force the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to reduce mortgage insurance rates by 25% -- a $6,100 annual savings for the average household.
- For those ready to buy, Trudeau said the Liberals would “make sure the process is fair and transparent” by creating a Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights that would ban measures like blind bidding, which would require home sellers to disclose competing offers on their properties.
- Impose a ban on new foreign ownership for the next two years and expand the upcoming tax on vacant and underused housing owned by non-resident and non-Canadians to include foreign-owned vacant land within large urban areas.
- Impose an “anti-flipping tax” on residential properties, which would require that properties either be held for at least 12 months or face taxes — a move intended to reduce speculative demand in the marketplace and help cool excessive price growth.
Build more homes:
- To help with supply, Trudeau said the Liberals plan to build, preserve, or repair 1.4 million affordable homes in four years.
- The Liberals’ housing plan also includes a Housing Accelerator Fund, which would make $4 billion available to help large cities speed up their housing plans, targeting 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-2025.
- The party also promised $2.7 billion over four years to build or repair more affordable homes, money to convert empty office space into housing, a multigenerational home renovation tax credit to offset the costs of adding a secondary unit to a home.
- The Liberals are also proposing a sort of “rent-to-own” program, with $1 billion in loans and grants to help make it easier for renters to get on the path towards homeownership while renting.
- Review the tax treatment of large corporate owners of residential properties such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) who are increasingly trying to amass large portfolios of Canadian rental housing, putting upward pressure on rents.
- Work with Indigenous partners to co-develop an Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy to ensure more Indigenous people have access to safe and affordable housing, and will support this strategy with dedicated investments.
- Work with Indigenous partners to create a National Indigenous Housing Centre which will see Indigenous people overseeing federal Indigenous housing programs once fully realized.
- Make additional investments in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation housing, as the party continue to work towards meeting its 2030 commitment on closing the gaps for Indigenous infrastructure.
- Appoint a Federal Housing Advocate within the first 100 days to ensure that all government commitments towards ending chronic homelessness are being fulfilled.
Additionally, if re-elected, the party said it will establish the Canada Financial Crimes Agency, which will serve as Canada’s first-ever national law enforcement agency solely dedicated to investigating and combatting all forms of major financial crime, including the presence of money laundering in the housing market.