Skip to main content
Start of content
Start of content

e-4198 (Business and trade)

Initiated by Matt Clark from Kitchener, Ontario

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The right to housing is a fundamental human right as recognized under the National Housing Strategy Act and international human rights law;
  • Homes should be first and foremost for people to live in, and not a commodity for institutional investors to trade;
  • The commodification of housing, including the rapid growth of institutional investors such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and their holdings, has substantially contributed to unaffordability and has worsened the housing crisis;
  • REITs, which comprise some of Canada’s largest corporate landlords, have long received special tax treatment from the federal government;
  • REITs are exempt from paying corporate income taxes by passing along their income to company investors;
  • The government is foregoing considerable revenue by allowing these tax exemptions; and
  • REITs grew from owning zero rental suites in 1996, to nearly 200,000 in 2021, and financial firms hold between 20 to 30 per cent of the country’s purpose-built rental housing stock.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Immediately remove the tax exemptions for REITs and subject them to the standard corporate tax rate at 38 per cent;
2. Use the revenue generated to invest in quality, affordable, and dignified non-profit and cooperative housing; and
3. Invoke antitrust laws to limit the agglomeration of housing units in a single community or neighbourhood by a single institutional investor.

Response by the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Soraya Martinez Ferrada

The Government of Canada thanks the petitioners from Kitchener Centre for sharing their concerns about the right to a safe and affordable place to call home.

The government recognizes that homes should be for Canadians to live in—not a financial asset class, and we remain concerned with the financialization of housing across Canada. That is why we have already moved forward initiative, such as a two-year ban on the purchase of residential real estate by non-resident, non-Canadian buyers. We have also committed to reviewing the tax treatment of large corporate players, such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and their role in the financialization of housing.

Our Government strongly believes that all Canadians should have access to safe and affordable housing. That is why we introduced Canada’s first ever National Housing Strategy (NHS) and passed a legislation to make sure future governments do the same. The National Housing Strategy is an $82-billion plan that sets ambitious targets to ensure that unprecedented investments and new programming deliver results.

The National Housing Strategy Act (the Act) that came into force in July 2019 and represents an historic milestone for housing in Canada. The Act sets out a housing policy that recognizes the right to adequate housing as a fundamental human right affirmed in international law.

The Act requires the federal government to maintain a National Housing Strategy to further the housing policy, taking into account key principles of a human rights-based approach to housing. The Act also created the Federal Housing Advocate and established a National Housing Council. Together, they help identify systemic barriers to accessing affordable housing and advise the Government on housing policy in Canada.

The National Housing Council provides advice to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, including on the effectiveness of the National Housing Strategy, with the aim of improving housing outcomes. The members of the National Housing Council were appointed on November 22, 2020. For more information on the members and the mandate of the National Housing Council, please visit

Supporting and growing community housing in Canada is a priority under the NHS, and the federal government has committed more than $11 billion in ongoing support for this objective.

The NHS delivers concrete results. It helps to create over 160,000 new housing units and repair another 300,000. It is removing as many as 530,000 households from housing need. And, since 2015, our investments have helped nearly 2 million families and individuals get the housing they need.We will not rest until every Canadian has a safe and affordable place to call home that meets their needs.

Response by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Chrystia Freeland

The reply from the Department of Finance to part 1) is as follows:

The government recognizes that homes should be for Canadians to live in—not a financial asset class. The Government of Canada remains concerned with the financialization of housing across Canada and is committed to ensuring that investor activity, especially among those who own a significant number of investment properties such as Real Estate Investment Trusts, is helping, not hurting, housing affordability in Canada. To this end, the government indicated in Budget 2023 that policy changes applicable to all large corporate landlords could be considered to ensure best outcomes on affordability and fair treatment of tenants.

The government has also introduced important measures to address the financialization of housing including a two-year ban on foreign investment in Canadian housing, a tax on under-used foreign-owned homes, the taxing of assignment sales, and ensuring that property flippers pay their fair share.

Open for signature
November 17, 2022, at 9:47 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 15, 2023, at 9:47 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Mike Morrice (Kitchener Centre)
April 19, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01314)
Government response tabled
June 2, 2023
Photo - Mike Morrice
Kitchener Centre
Green Party Caucus