Home Business & Economy Housing NDP calls for renter protection fund in federal Budget 2024

NDP calls for renter protection fund in federal Budget 2024

Tipping the market in favour of fixed-income households and working class.

jagmeet singh, maja tait, laurel collins, renters
Promoting the need for a Renters Protection Fund in Esquimalt on March 10, 2024, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was joined by Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke NDP candidate Maja Tait (left) and Victoria MP Laurel Collins (right). [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Sunday March 10, 2024 | ESQUIMALT, BC [Updated March 11, 2024]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

On this crisp dry Sunday morning in Esquimalt, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a media session to promote his party’s push for a renters protection fund, calling it a National Housing Acquisition Fund.

Outside an apartment building that had recently seen its tenants protected from eviction due to a substantial payment from the BC Rental Protection Fund, Singh was joined by local MP Laurel Collins (Victoria) and NDP candidate Maja Tait for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke (she is currently the mayor of Sooke).

jagmeet singh, maja tait, laurel collins, ndp
In Esquiimalt on March 10, 2024 to discuss the challenges for renters (from left): NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh; Maja Tait, NDP candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke; and Victoria MP Laurel Collins. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The fund would help not-for-profit organizations buy affordable housing when it’s on the market and make sure it stays affordable for renters.

“We want to force the federal government to bring that in,” said Singh about a federal Renters Protection Fund.

It’s enough of a corporate-style approach to suit the fed govt while helping people who might otherwise be evicted.

jagmeet singh, maja tait, laurel collins, renters
NDP candidate Maja Tait (left) with Victoria MP Laurel Collins and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Esquimalt residential neighbourhood, March 10, 2024. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“We know this works,” said Singh, who added that the NDP has been calling for this initiative for about a year already. Nationally he says there will continue to be NDP pressure to see a Rental Protection Fund in the upcoming federal Budget 2024 being released April 16, 2024.

“We need to keep the homes that we have that are affordable,” said Singh. It will be a significant signal from the Liberal government if their budget includes the proposed Renters Protection Fund; it would be a nod to the NDP that the strength of political influence through the Liberal/NDP Supply and Confidence Agreement still holds.

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Housing prices, rental pressures:

Singh pointed out that in the past few years rent has doubled across the country and 11 affordable homes are lost for every affordable home that gets built … a scenario that Singh called “staggering”. He said that “what we’re up against as a country — for decades and decades now — has been a rigged system”, citing developers who are making incredible profits. “This is not a coincidence… if you’re a big developer or investor you’re going to keep on making big profits,” said Singh.

ravi kahlon, mitzi dean, esqimalt
Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon along with local MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) announced $3 million Rental Protection Fund contribution for purchase of apartment building in Esquimalt, Feb 28, 2024. [BC Govt]

Single parents, seniors, and young people “can’t find homes that are affordable”, said Singh. “People are suffering, and this is the direct results of decisions that both Conservative and Liberal governments have made,” the NDP Leader said today. What seems like bashing of other parties is simply actually a fact … that housing policy and CMHC directions in Canada (supported by the banking sector) have favoured those who can afford to invest in housing either as property developers or homeowners.

Under the Conservatives “things would be just as bad or even worse” than what has happened under the Liberals during the past eight years, said Singh. The theme of big corporations making big profits was cited by Singh in not just housing but also pharmaceutical and grocery sectors.

“We need to rig the system in favour of working people,” said Singh. “We have to stop that,” said Singh, referring to a pro-corporate economy. “That’s not going to make a Canada where everyone can live their dreams.” The emphasis on housing ownership as a benefit to investors is “hurting people”, he said.

“We need to make better decisions so that people are the priority,” said NDP’s leader today.

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The Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society is based in the west shore of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Really rough:

Renters being forced into the open market due to renoviction or inflation-related eviction (housing investor owners sell properties to deal with their own financial management but leave tenants to find new accommodations) is “really rough”, said Singh today.

moving van, family, boxes

“It’s a scenario that a lot of people are in right now,” he told media today. “There’s a constant fear that there’s nowhere else to go. It is very scary for people.”

Having to suddenly pay rent that is much higher than before “is very stressful, there’s a high level of pressure on people”, said Singh, showing insight into a reality that senior levels of government may not really be aware of.

“This is the type of system that has been rigged against working people,” he reiterated as to the longer-term policy directions that will help ameliorate situations that place a sociocultural shock on individuals, households and communities.

“This is not an aberration, this is the norm… the result of governments who’ve decided to prioritize rich investors,” said Singh. “Investors buy and flip houses and apartment buildings, things are great if you’re a rich investor,” he told media today, coorelating that to the continual challenges for people on fixed incomes.

boxes, moving, tenant

Broader rental scenario:

This sort of indirect support for renters is only effective for those already housed in affordable rental buildings. The plight of renters in the mainstream rental market is still unaddressed. Singh reiterated the NDP approach to continue pushing for things that benefit working and middle class Canadians.

The NDP Leader articulated that “renters are living in constant worry about being renovicted or seeing their rent double”.

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Specifically to Esquimalt, in one year corporate landlords bought up half of the available properties and the price for a one-bedroom apartment is now up to $2,101 per month, according to the NDP’s news release today.

Terms like ‘renovicted’ or ‘demovicted’ were repeated by Singh today.

Tait about renters:

Tait said that “everywhere she goes” people are telling her about the pressures they’re facing to find an affordable place to rent. She noted that Esquimalt has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country. “For renters… if someone is pushed out it is even more challenging to find a new place to rent at a similar rate, and rent is already high for people,” said Tait at the outdoor podium.

Maja Tait welcomed as the NDP candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, Aug 31, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Tait said that affordable rental units make communities more affordable. She wants to see a ‘lighter load for individuals and families’ who may also be challenged to pay down student loans or affordably start a family.

Tait’s career prior to politics was in property management. She launched her NDP candidacy back in August 2023, and seems to be easing into the NDP process.

Housing supply:

Building more homes faster was also a tagline for today’s announcement. Even with continued housing construction the fast increase of Canada’s population due to immigration is putting pressures on housing availability.

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Fedearl politics on the island:

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has spent the past week on Vancouver Island out supporting MPs in ridings that might find themselves with a tough fight in the upcoming federal election (currently scheduled for October 2025). He held media events with Rachel Blaney (North Island – Powell River), Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), Lisa-Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith).

This is a constituency week for MPs, who are spending time away from Ottawa, back in their ridings.

The NDP currently holds six of the seven seats on Vancouver Island: Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford), Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), Laurel Collins (Victoria), Rachel Blaney (North Island-Powell River), Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni), and Lisa-Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith). MacGregor currently chairs the NDP caucus.

Green party leaders Elizabeth May and Jonathan Pedneault were in Campbell River and Nanaimo last week.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre spoke at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Friday and was in the Okanagan on Saturday.

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Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC.


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Mary P Brooke, Editor & Publisher of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering local, regional, BC and national news through a socioeconomic lens since 2008.

In 2014 she increased her focus on the west shore area of Greater Victoria, and after doing daily provincial coverage of the COVID pandemic during 2020-2022 she began reporting with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

In 2023 Ms Brooke was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation award for contributing to her community through journalism. Her publications are archived at the Sooke Region Museum: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and now Island Social Trends (digital 2020-2023 and bi-weekly print 2024 onward).