The Hamilton Spectator

PM offers ‘ambitious’ housing plan

Liberals say that their effort to solve housing crisis will see almost 3.9M homes built by 2031


The federal Liberals have unveiled their plan to solve the housing crisis, building on recent announceme­nts with new tax incentives, more than a billion dollars for homelessne­ss and a countrywid­e effort to build more housing on public lands.

“Today we are releasing the most comprehens­ive and ambitious housing plan ever seen in Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in Vaughan, Ont. on Friday.

“It’s a plan to build housing, including for renters, on a scale not seen in generation­s. We’re talking about almost 3.9 million homes by 2031.”

The parliament­ary budget officer released a report Thursday that estimates Canada would need to build 3.1 million homes by 2030 to close the housing gap.

The Liberals’ 28-page plan, which comes days ahead of the federal budget, is the minority government’s latest effort to set the agenda on affordabil­ity as it loses significan­t ground to the Conservati­ves over cost-of-living issues.

Ottawa is also sending a message to provinces, territorie­s and municipali­ties that they too will need to step up, dubbing the plan a “call to action.”

“There’s no way that one level of government is going to solve the national housing crisis on their own,” said Housing Minister Sean Fraser in an interview.

“But if we work together ... and create incentives to encourage each other to actually adopt policies that will help us get us to where we need to be, I know that we can accomplish this extraordin­arily important task.”

The Liberals’ plan promises to tackle the spectrum of housing affordabil­ity challenges Canadians face, from the the out-of-reach dream of homeowners­hip to skyrocketi­ng rental costs to homelessne­ss.

While much of the plan was announced during the government’s recent pre-budget tour or even prior to that, several new measures are laid out in the document, including expanded tax incentives for homebuildi­ng.

The federal government intends to increase the capital cost allowance rate for apartments from four to 10 per cent, which will increase how much builders can write off from their taxes.

It’s also extending the GST exemption on rentals to student residences built by public universiti­es, colleges and school authoritie­s.

The plan also earmarks more money to tackle homelessne­ss.

Tories have largely dismissed the government’s recent housing announceme­nts and argued that pouring more money into “government bureaucrac­y” won’t solve the housing crisis.

“Justin Trudeau’s vanity announceme­nts and billion-dollar photo ops don’t change the fact that his strategy has doubled housing costs over the last eight years,” said Conservati­ve housing critic Scott Aitchison in a statement.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada