Unveiled on Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the “first of many” municipal compromises has been made under the auspices of the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund. The Liberals expect this modest endeavour to serve as their blueprint for addressing the severe housing issues that have sprung up in Canada.
Under a $74 million agreement with London, Ontario, the next three years will witness the swift production of over 2,000 housing units. Thousands more are anticipated to be constructed throughout the subsequent years. This development is a component of a comprehensive housing strategy, promised by the Liberals, the specifics of which are expected to be unveiled in the near future.
The newly planned housing units will be comprised of high-density structures, void of any need for re-zoning. Facilitating the construction of duplexes, triplexes, and petite apartment buildings near public transit on city territory, are among the government’s aims for this venture.
The Housing Accelerator Fund hopes to stimulate the creation of 100,000 new housing units across Canada. The government plans to incentivise municipalities to streamline their zoning and permit systems to expedite the development of residential properties.
Referring to Wednesday’s declaration as the “first of many,” Trudeau expressed optimism that comparable agreements with other cities will lead to the emergence of myriad affordable homes in the market. “Housing is a solvable problem, and we’re all going to solve it if we work together. Canada has done it before, and we’re going to do it again,” Trudeau reiterated.
The $4-billion Housing Accelerator Fund marked its initiation in the 2021 federal election and was allocated in the 2022 federal budget as part of a $10-billion housing-focused package. The fund officially rolled out in March this year.
When questioned about the delay of the fund’s initiation, Trudeau blamed shared jurisdiction for housing matters. However, Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Minister, Sean Fraser, stated that with the tap now turned on, additional local announcements would soon follow.
The fund is aimed at responding to a shortage of housing, a problem that has caused the skyrocketing of home prices. Trudeau declares, “We’re not going to follow those examples,” in reference to cities around the globe, such as New York, Paris, London, and San Francisco, where housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
Minister Fraser stated during an interview that the government will announce new measures in the next few months to improve housing affordability across Canada. The Minister is determined not to wait for specific dates such as the upcoming fall economic update for these measures to be released.
Appropriately addressing housing affordability is gaining increasing importance, especially with polls suggesting that opposition party politicians Pierre Poilievre’s and Jagmeet Singh’s views are more trusted than the federal Liberals’. Even with a healthy salary, affordable housing is proving to be elusive even for some members of Trudeau’s own party.
Addressing Wednesday’s announcement, founder of Generation Squeeze, Paul Kershaw, stated that it was a promising first step and looks forward to the improved policies brought about by the competition between the Liberals and Conservatives.
Singh views Wednesday’s announcement as a positive beginning but insists the government must go further and faster, exploiting the resources, land, and power available for the construction of more affordable housing units in cities across the country. The remaining requirement, Singh believes, is the will to do so.
With an unswerving commitment to addressing the housing crisis, regardless of evolving circumstances or political competition, the Trudeau government remains resolute in its pursuit of a mass-scale, comprehensive housing solution to offer Canadians more affordable housing options.