The first ever political debate on housing was held today in Laval, a joint initiative of the Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec (APCHQ), the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ), the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB), the l’Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) and the Regroupement des gestionnaires et copropriétaires du Québec (RGCQ).
The four main political parties were represented by Lise Thériault, MNA for Anjou-Louis-Riel and Minister responsible for Consumer Protection and for Housing (Québec Liberal Party), Mario Laframboise, MNA for Blainville (Coalition Avenir Québec), Carole Poirier, MNA for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve (Parti Québécois) and Simon Charron, candidate for Sainte-Rose (Québec Solidaire).
They took turns discussing the primary issues affecting housing, including homeownership, condominium reform, the Régie du logement and consumer protection.
Housing is one of Québec’s economic pillars with annual investments reaching $29.2 billion, a thriving industry that generates some 172,000 jobs here in Québec.
“Despite this fact, Québec has the lowest homeownership rate of all Canadian provinces. While the Canadian average is 68 per cent, Québec’s average stands at only 61 per cent. Although some progress has been made in recent years, it remains difficult for young families to become homeowners. Some aid measures were proposed by the political representatives present this morning. Consequently, now is the time to take action when it comes to homeownership,” stated Luc Bélanger, APCHQ CEO.
The current government introduced measures in June to reform the co-ownership sector to ensure, in part, better reserve fund management.
“It is vital that the next government reintroduce condominium reform provisions to meet the critical challenges of maintenance, property deterioration, the peaceful coexistence between co-owners and the absence of oversight of condominium management. To adequately protect buyers and avoid a crisis of confidence, there needs to be an improved regulation of the rights, powers and obligations of co-owner syndicates,” noted Pierre Babinsky, IBC Director of Communications and Public Affairs.
“Access to justice when it comes to co-ownership is also compromised. In fact, it is virtually impossible to enforce the declaration of co-ownership, which is a civil contract concluded between the co-owners, when offenders refuse to comply. This morning, representatives of the main political parties demonstrated that they understand the issues. Their willingness to find concrete solutions to improve co-ownership dispute resolution is welcomed,” affirmed Laurent Emery, RGCQ General Manager.
Régie du logement
Since housing is central to people’s lives, the harmonious and peaceful coexistence in rental properties is a major challenge. However, it is compromised by an imbalance of rights and inefficiency of the legal system.
“The laws governing rental rights and the Régie du logement were adopted 40 years ago. They no longer reflect the current realities of Québec society which have changed considerably. The spokespersons of the main political parties realize that a profound reform can no longer wait. Their commitment to correcting the main issues and making housing a priority in the new electoral term is reassuring,” declared CORPIQ’s Director of Public Affairs, Hans Brouillette.
All candidates recognized the importance of maintaining public confidence in the Québec housing market and protecting both buyers and sellers in the most important transaction of their lives.
“Increased support for homebuyers is vital when it comes to protecting the value of their assets and facilitating home ownership. Just as important is a more effective regulation and oversight of the activities of real estate consulting firms. Moreover, given the importance of the housing sector in Québec, we consider it essential that the position of Minister for Housing be maintained,” explained Patrick Juanéda, QFREB President.
“For several decades now, the government has decided to regulate residential and commercial real estate brokerage, because it deemed it essential to protect consumers in their complex real estate transactions that deserve so much expertise and rigour. However, the current trend is towards deregulation, thus reducing the protections and resources available to consumers. We hope that the interest shown by candidates today in the housing sector will motivate the future government to continue to strengthen the supervision of real estate brokerage to ensure public protection,” said Nadine Lindsay, President and Chief Executive Officer of the OACIQ.
The community leaders who attended the event are pleased to see that housing is a priority for Québec’s four main political parties. The partner organizations wish to reiterate the importance of converting the commitments set out in the debate into concrete actions as quickly as possible. All wished the candidates the best of luck in the election and encourage all Québec citizens to vote on October 1.