Premier Wynne added some shading Thursday to the news that Ontario will apply a 15 percent surcharge on home purchases made by foreign speculators. She said the tax would not apply to immigrants, nor it seems, to foreigners actually living in the homes.
Still, the decision to extend rent controls to all apartment buildings is a gamble which may be trickier to manage than the real estate tax. The tax is removable without a voter backlash — rent control is not. If builders and landlords decide the apartment building business isn’t worth it, overall housing stock will absolutely shrink. The government may experience legislator’s remorse about universal rent control.