Ottawa Home Builders Hope Federal Fall Economic Statement Sets the Stage for Further Action on Housing
November 22, 2023
OTTAWA – With the release of the federal government’s Fall Economic Statement (FES), federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland appears to be setting the stage for more action to come to improve housing affordability and supply, both in Ottawa and across the country, says the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA).
“As expected, the FES mostly focused on subsidized housing and reiterates or extends measures already in place to spur the construction of for-purpose rental,” said Jason Burggraaf, Executive Director of GOHBA. “Ninety-five per cent of Canadians live in ‘market’ housing – either homes they own or homes they rent. So while the measures announced are important, they don’t add up to a fulsome, comprehensive solution. That’s going to require a coordinated effort from all three levels of government.”
In its 2023 FES, the federal government committed new funds to finance more apartment construction, build more affordable housing units, and repurpose more federal lands for housing. It also committed to work in the coming months to remove the barriers to internal labour mobility and prioritize construction workers for permanent residency.
The most impactful measure of the FES, however, may prove to be the government’s plan to establish a Department of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.
“The federal government recognizes the link between housing affordability and enhancing public infrastructure,” said Burggraaf. “And we’ve already seen the transformative influence on housing policy that Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, has had with the Housing Accelerator Fund. Plus, this aligns nicely with the Ontario government’s new Housing-Enabling Water Systems Infrastructure Fund.”
GOHBA emphasizes that the housing crisis demands a united, multi-faceted approach including policy reforms, regulatory changes and collaborative efforts between government at all levels, the private sector and communities.
While the federal FES sets a necessary foundation, it needs to be followed up with continued, concerted efforts at all three levels of government.
Every Canadian deserves a reasonable opportunity for a home of their own. GOHBA urges all three levels of government to harness this momentum and spearhead a comprehensive, coordinated strategy that truly addresses the root causes of our housing crisis.
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Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association