CONSERVATIVES MUST ACT ON HOUSING CRISIS: TURMEL

Historic debt loads and rising prices pushing middle class families out of the market

OTTAWA – New Democrat leader Nycole Turmel echoed the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) call today for action to improve the stock of rental housing in Canada today.

The FCM released a report calling on the federal government to invest in practical, low-cost options that would increase the housing stock while also creating new jobs.

“New Democrats have been demanding action on a national housing strategy for years. This would include targeted, job-creating investments by the federal government in new rental housing,” said Turmel, “and the NDP has repeatedly proposed a retrofit program that helps Canadians lower their utility costs and reduce greenhouse gases, while creating new jobs in our communities.”

The FCM’s report, The Housing Market and Canada’s Economic Recovery, outlines three ideas to increase the stock of rental housing: low-cost loans from CMHC for new housing; tax breaks for landlords selling rental housing to other rental housing providers; and an ecoEnergy program for rental housing to bring down utility costs for both tenants and landlords.

“Housing is the number one issue in every community across Canada,” said Marie-Claude Morin, NDP Housing critic. “From Western communities that are expanding rapidly because of economic growth, to communities in Quebec that need affordable homes nearer the services families rely on, right across Canada Mayors see a crunch coming.”

The FCM points out that there are approximately 50,000 fewer construction jobs since 2007 as a result of lower housing starts. Over the last 15 years only ten percent of all new housing starts were for rental construction, even though renters make up one-third of all households in Canada.

“Every year we are losing rental units to the condo market while the demand is high,” said Andrew Cash, deputy NDP Housing critic. “With low vacancy rates and creeping rents, many tenants are finding it harder and harder to find an affordable rental unit. With housing starts slowing down, building new rental units or retrofitting existing ones will provide necessary construction jobs.”