Canada’s Housing Minister Pushes for Housing Expansion Amid Immigration Target Revisions


Canada’s housing minister states that potential revisions to the country’s bold immigration targets are not being disregarded by the federal government. However, he emphasized that increased attention should be given to expanding the housing supply as a solution to the present housing issues.

In discussions on future immigration level strategies, the Minister, Sean Fraser revealed that the country aims to balance its ambitious immigration efforts with the assimilation capabilities of local communities. This includes considering implications on housing, health care, and infrastructure.

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Fraser shared his belief that the federal government still needs to fine-tune its temporary immigration programs. These programs are currently governed by demand without a set limit. Yet, he expressed that there is no need to necessarily reduce the number of immigrants who acquire permanent residency each year. He highlighted that almost half of these individuals are already temporary residents within the country.

Fraser elucidated that prior to instituting any alterations, the federal government must collaborate with other tiers of government, institutions, and the local bodies responsible for the housing of incoming immigrants. He, however, emphasised that discussions on the housing crisis should not strictly focus on immigration.

In the minister’s view, the enhancement of housing supply is critical in addressing the housing needs of the country. He added that immigration remains an indispensable asset in fortifying Canada’s position in the global economy.

Fraser, in his previous role as federal immigration minister, had set high immigration goals for Canada. The target was to welcome 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025. The intention behind these targets was to bolster Canada’s economic prosperity by replenishing labour shortages and attracting the skills and expertise needed in vital sectors such as health care, skilled trades, manufacturing and technology.

However, concerns have been raised by academics, commercial banks, opposition politicians and policy strategists. They suggest that the country’s rapid immigration strategy may be amplifying the housing crisis. Reports indicate that the current immigration strategy could potentially expand Canada’s housing deficit by half a million units in mere two years.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that an additional 3.5 million homes would need to be constructed by 2030 to alleviate the housing affordability issue. Fraser had suggested that setting a limit on incoming international students could aid in addressing the affordability and availability of rental housing.

However, Fraser’s inclination is to retain high numbers of international students for the benefit of Canada and its future population growth. He believes that the government, in conjunction with provincial and institutional bodies, needs to lend additional support to international students, many of whom struggle to secure affordable housing during their sojourn in the country.

Acknowledging the potential monumental shifts that adjustments to immigration regulations would cause, Fraser emphasized the necessity of a cautious and well-executed approach. He reiterated that Canada thrives when it reciprocates the productive contributions of its immigrants.