On July 31, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a very controversial statement.
Some people think that he may be technically correct because housing is mostly dealt with at the provincial level.
Some people think that the statement is politically incorrect.
What do you think?
I think there is one thing that is undeniable.
The federal government is directly responsible for creating the big housing demand because they control immigration.
Who’s the Minister of Immigration?
You created the problem on the demand side, now you go fix it on the supply side.
That’s just my hilarious interpretation of Sean Fraser’s promotion from the Minister of Immigration to the Minister of Housing.
He was the one who let all the new people in.
And now, he’s going to tackle the housing crisis at the federal level.
Some people think there is an easy solution to our housing crisis.
Just shut immigration down.
As with many problems in life, the easiest solution may not always be the best solution.
You fix one thing, you damage something else.
The toughest situation comes when there’s no absolute right or wrong, you have to weigh out your pros and cons, pick a direction and fight along.
Which direction would you pick for Canada?
Shut down immigration and tackle an aging population with more than 1 in 5 people retiring?
Or would you rather have an explosive population growth and tackle a housing crisis?
Comment below and let me know.
For now, our federal government has made a clear choice for us.
We will continue to stick to the high immigration targets and we will go all in to fix our housing crisis.
You can see that clearly on the slogan on Trudeau’s mic stand.
“Building More Homes Faster”.
All 3 levels of government are taking immediate actions to tackle the crisis.
Some of the actions are very high profile and of course very controversial.
What are they doing?
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Let’s start with the federal government.
It is firm on the immigration targets but our new Housing Minister says the government should start thinking about international students.
The study permit program is a temporary resident program that is simply driven by demand and does not have a cap set.
At the end of 2022, how many international students do you think we have?
That number is definitely putting pressure on both our job and housing markets.
So Sean Fraser said one of the options the government can consider is putting a cap on the number of international students we accept each year.
But there’s no timeline on when that would happen and what the cap would be set to.
I will keep you posted on how things unfold.
On the provincial government side of things, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a very bold move.
Have you heard of the Greenbelt?
It is a protected area of green space, farmland, forests, wetlands and watersheds.
It includes 2 million acres of land from the Niagara Region all the way to the east of Durham Region, cities of Pickering, Oshawa.
In order to build more homes faster, the Ford government opened up 7,400 acres of the Greenbelt to development.
Ford wants to see 50,000 homes built on the former Greenbelt lands.
There is a lot of controversy about this decision and how the lands were selected.
Opposition leaders are calling for the decision to be reversed.
But Ford is going full steam ahead with the decision.
“When you’re in a housing crisis, when you have an inferno happening, firefighters run to the fire, they don’t run away from it. And in my position, I have to deal with a crisis.” He said.
So let’s see where this new 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt is located.
A majority of it, over 4,200 acres, that’s more than 57% of the new land is located in one city.
Which city is it?
Take a guess. It’s on the east side.
The City of Pickering.
It is going to be a spotlight for developments with that much land allocated.
Another major city with land removed from the Greenbelt is the City of Vaughan.
It gets around 16 acres of new land.
The cities of Vaughan and Pickering both confirmed that planning staff and developers are starting their discussions about building on the new land.
Last Monday, Doug Ford announced a 3-year, $1.2 billion “Building Faster Fund” to provide support for municipalities to build more, faster.
Twenty-nine municipalities in southern Ontario have committed to building targets set by the province.
The City of Toronto tops the list with the target of building 285,000 new homes by 2031.
The City of Ottawa comes second, with a target of 151,000 homes.
The third one is the City of Mississauga, with a target of 120,000 homes.
Each year, the province will review each city’s annual target based on housing starts and units created.
If the cities can achieve 80% or more of their annual target, they will get up to $400 million of funding.
Otherwise, they will get nothing.
Now the cities are going to have to think about how they can build faster so they can get the funding.
I would imagine they have to speed up their approval process and potentially reduce development charges to encourage developers to build.
I’m sure the cities will respond with actions soon.
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