Calgary Councillor urges devolution of mortgage rules

Coun. George Chahal argues that local governments are better placed to implement more appropriate lending rules

Calgary Councillor urges devolution of mortgage rules

In a motion presented to Ottawa earlier this week, Calgary Councillor George Chahal called for the delegation of mortgage rules to local governments, instead of the current federal stress test.

Chahal argued that comprehensively addressing the affordability issue – ostensibly among the purposes of the B-20 regulations implemented last year – requires a case-to-case approach that can be best gauged on the ground by local officials.

Such a set-up would be preferable to the current federal-level regulatory regime, which helps some markets more than others, multiple observers have noted.

“[B-20] was created to deal with the unstable real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto where red flags have been raised in recent years regarding the combination of unsustainable price appreciation and high-debt ratios,” Chahal explained in his notice of motion, as quoted by the Calgary Herald.

Read more: How B-20 impacts family-sized condos

And what might work for the hottest markets would not necessarily be effective in other settings.

“If you’re attempting to apply a single rule across the board because of a few situations that may not apply across Canada, then certainly we should be able to look at it slightly different in this regard,” Coun. Shane Keating said in agreement with Chahal’s motion.

Coun. Joe Magliocca added that the devolution of mortgage regulation could help “provide a lot of jobs and get our construction going again,” which would be a valuable boost to a long-struggling provincial economy.

“I understand why they do it in Toronto and I understand why they do it in Vancouver because of their economy there, but they should not be equal all throughout Canada.”