Maple Leaf

Summary of Federal Party Promises Which May Affect You and Your Clients

During the past few weeks, we have been working diligently to reinforce the message that the Board of Directors and members have asked that we discuss with policymakers since the beginning of 2018; namely the following changes to the mortgage macro-prudential rules:

  • A reduction in the mortgage stress tests
  • The reintroduction of a mortgage insurance-eligible 30-year amortization for first-time homebuyers
  • A stress test exemption for borrowers who have paid as agreed through their first term and who wish to renew with another lender

These recommendations were primarily made in the interest of supporting access to homeownership for younger, aspiring middle-class Canadians, whose long term economic well-being has been disproportionately disadvantaged by the recent changes.

In July, J.P. Boutros, our Director of Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs, wrote an article for MPC’s Perspectives magazine detailing the government relations efforts the association has undertaken on behalf of members. It provides an overview of meetings with senior policymakers from all parties, and what we hoped would happen during the current election campaign.

I encourage you to read the article published in August, as it has predicted some recent election campaign events. Entitled, Housing Affordability: The Inescapable Federal Election Issue, the article:

  • Showed support for the Liberal Government’s First Time Home Buyer Incentive, with the caveat that it needed to be improved for the Toronto and Vancouver markets (the Liberals have since committed to increase income limits and loan multiple limits if re-elected, based in part on our advice).
  • Explained, in some detail, how we have discussed your issues with the New Democratic Party, Conservative Party, and the Liberal Party.
  • Explained the value of voting, and how elections in Canada work.
  • Complimented CMHC, who were tasked by the government with coming up with a program which was as “Goldilocks” as possible for an uneven national housing market.
  • Showed, in retrospect, the power of our advocacy, and how volunteering and being a member yields results.
  • Most importantly, clearly stated that, “Our overriding government-relations goal is to remain apolitical while we deliver the goals our members, through the board, insist upon.”

In retrospect, the article explains how effective MPC has been - and is - during this election. It explains the strategy and tactics we have employed, and the results we’re now witnessing. We believe the article helps explain how we operate as a non-partisan association, biased only towards our members and their clients.

History tells us that federal political parties in Canada can win a majority government with fewer than 40% of voters choosing them.This further demonstrates the importance of your vote, a right we urge you to exercise.

Prior to the official election call, we asked each of the six political parties with seats in the House of Commons the following questions regarding housing policy in Canada:

  • Does your party support reducing the mortgage stress test qualifying rate, currently at 5.19% despite five-year closed terms being available for under 3%? If yes, what do you consider an acceptable level or alternate mechanism; if not, please provide details.
  • Does your party support a stress test exemption for borrowers who have paid as agreed through their most recent mortgage term and who wish to renew with a different lender?
  • In your first year in office, will your party reintroduce mortgage insurance-eligible 30-year amortizations for first-time buyers? If not, does your platform contain an alternative provision to provide additional financing options for aspiring middle-class Canadians, or does your party feel the housing market is now well structured and needs no adjustment? Please provide details.
  • How will you support or incentivize new home starts to prevent steep price increases due to lack of supply?
  • What other measures in your party’s platform address and acknowledge the concerns of the mortgage brokering community and its clients?

Below, in order of their party’s caucus size in the last parliament, we detail what political parties have told us, directly and through the campaign to date.

Detailed Party Platforms:

Summary of Party Platforms:

Liberal Party
  • Would increase maximum qualifying household income under First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) shared equity mortgage program in Greater Vancouver, Victoria and Greater Toronto regions from $120,000 to $150,000, and increase the maximum household income multiplier from 4x to 5x in these regions (maximum participating home value theoretically increases from approx. $565,000 in rest of Canada to $882,000 in GTA/GVA/Victoria).
  • Would introduce a one per cent annual vacancy and speculation tax on applicable residential properties owned by non-resident, non-Canadians.
  • Would work with provinces and municipalities to ensure Statistics Canada, CMHC and CRA have tools to accurately track foreign ownership and speculation in Canada.
  • Would work with provinces to establish a consistent national approach to beneficial ownership transparency, to fight financial crime in real estate and other sectors.

Conservative Party
  • Would fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first-time homebuyers aren’t unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages and work with OSFI to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals to give homeowners more options.
  • Would increase amortization periods on insured mortgages to 30 years for first-time homebuyers to lower monthly payments
  • Would launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector and work with our industry partners to root out corrupt practices that inflate housing prices.
  • Would make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase housing supply.

NDP Party
  • Would undertake a study of the existing mortgage stress test qualifying rate and include the input of diverse regional partners and industry experts – not just those in Vancouver or Toronto.
  • Would consult with stakeholders, industry experts, and consumers for best practices on creating an exemption for borrowers wishing to renew their mortgage through a different lender.
  • Would commit to re-introducing 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first time home buyers.
  • Would put in place a Foreign Buyer’s tax on the sale of homes to individuals who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Would work with provinces to create a public beneficial ownership registry to increase transparency about who owns properties, and require reporting of suspicious transactions in order to help find and stop money laundering.

Bloc Quebecois
  • Introduce green energy programs for renovations.
  • Allow victims of natural disasters (such as flooding) to pay for repairs and rebuilding of homes with funds from their RRSPs. In French: BQ “ont proposé de permettre le retrait d’argent des REER, sans pénalité ni impôts, pour la rénovation des maisons des victimes de sinistres majeurs liés aux changements climatiques.”

Green Party
  • Would end first-time homebuyer grants and programs, focusing instead on affordable rental housing.
  • Would create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy, updating how co-op housing would be financed, “in partnership with CMHC, co-op societies, credit unions and other lenders.”
  • Would remove the “deemed” GST whenever a developer with empty condo units places them on the market as rentals.
  • Would appoint a Minister of Housing (an overdue requirement for any Canadian government).

MPC’s mission statement is simple: Advancing the mortgage broker channel. In our advocacy efforts, we strive to be Canada’s unified, authoritative voice of the mortgage broker channel, and through the considerable time and contributions of many volunteer members, I am proud to say this is how we are now widely regarded. I understand that voting is a deeply personal activity, and many factors will drive each of your personal choices. MPC is deliberately non-partisan, and I have no request of you other than to please ensure to exercise your right and vote for the party of your choice. As an association representing individuals working in the housing finance sector, our presentation of the respective parties’ housing platforms is made to assist you when weighing all elements of your decision.

We always welcome your questions and comments so please do not hesitate to contact me directly, or J.P. Boutros at

Thank you,            

Paul Taylor
President and CEO