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Housing Crisis in Canada: Experts Urge Government to Take Action

The housing crisis in Canada has reached a breaking point. A coalition comprising housing experts, advocates, and industry representatives is calling on the government to implement policies that will address the shortage of rental units...

The housing crisis in Canada has reached a breaking point. A coalition comprising housing experts, advocates, and industry representatives is calling on the government to implement policies that will address the shortage of rental units in the country's largest cities. In a new report titled "A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada's Rental Housing Crisis," experts outline the urgent need for action.

Meeting the Growing Demand

The report highlights the pressing need to build 5.8 million new homes, including two million rental units, by 2030 to tackle the affordability crisis. As Canada's renting population continues to grow, the prices of rentals have skyrocketed. The government must step up and address this issue before it worsens.

According to Mike Moffatt, founding director of the PLACE Centre at the Smart Prosperity Institute, "A lot of the conversation is 'Whose responsibility is it to solve this?' And the answer should be 'It's everyone's.'" Moffatt emphasizes the need for collective action and cooperation from all sectors.

Recommendations for the Government

The report calls on the federal government to take a leadership role in addressing the rental housing crisis. It emphasizes the importance of coordination with provinces, territories, and municipalities to ensure the construction of more rental units. Tim Richter, president & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, states, "This is too big for any one government or sector to handle alone, and so we're hoping the federal government will jump into a leadership role and meet us in the square to have this conversation."

The report also suggests the creation of a national workforce strategy that involves trade unions, education institutions, and other levels of government. This strategy would ensure that Canada has enough skilled labor to meet the construction demands of rental units.

To make rental units more feasible for builders and developers, the report proposes financial reforms. Suggestions include offering tax credits to developers who invest in community rental units and deferring capital gains tax when proceeds from a rental housing project are reinvested into further rental unit construction. The government is also encouraged to provide fixed-rate financing through organizations like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) or the Canada Infrastructure Bank for rental builds.

Support from Opposition Parties

The report finds support from federal opposition parties as well. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre advocates tying infrastructure funding to municipal housing permit approvals, while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for the waiver of the GST on rental housing construction. These proposals align with the report's recommendations.

The authors of the report hope that it serves as a signal to all levels of government, regardless of political affiliation, to work together in solving the housing crisis. "This is about communication and collaboration," says Michael Brooks, head of REALPAC, a group representing real estate firms. "Get together in a room and talk to each other and make that conversation be based on evidence."

Government's Response

Housing Minister Sean Fraser acknowledges the urgency of the situation and the government's commitment to finding solutions. The government aims to expedite housing construction through subsidies and incentives. Fraser states, "If you are a person who is willing to work in this country, it's unacceptable that you can't afford a place to live in the community you call home."

Fraser also acknowledges past governmental shortcomings in addressing affordable housing. He stresses that the current crisis extends beyond low-income individuals, affecting working professionals as well. The government must rectify the mistakes of the past and take immediate action to alleviate the housing crisis.

Moffat said it's everyone's responsibility to address the housing crisis. Image: Mike Moffat addressing the housing crisis. (Image Source: CBC)

Brooks said Canada could see a drop in the number of rental construction projects in the coming years because of increased costs. Image: Michael Brooks discussing the impact of rising costs on rental construction projects. (Image Source: Michael Brooks)

Richter said he hopes politicians, advocates, and industry can work collaboratively on housing solutions. Image: Tim Richter emphasizing the importance of collaboration in finding housing solutions. (Image Source: CBC)

The government must heed the unified message from housing experts, advocates, and industry representatives. By implementing the recommendations outlined in the report, Canada can take a major step towards resolving the rental housing crisis and ensuring that all residents have access to affordable housing. It is time for the government to act and make a positive impact on the lives of Canadians.