On Tuesday (September 6), CMHC president and CEO Evan Siddall said that the Liberal government has requested the housing agency to deal with the affordability crisis plaguing the country’s hottest real estate markets—a problem requiring an approach that would address issues as varied as supply, rental availability, foreign investment, and existing mortgage rules.
“The scope is indeed massive. The scope’s ambitious, and expectations are very high, and I must say that’s a concern. But it’s our job to try and resolve those expectations and those ideas into something coherent for the government,” Siddall said in a conference call, as quoted by The Globe and Mail
“I’m sure if you summed just the budgetary implications of what everybody expects from a national housing strategy, we would have an irresponsible budget request.”
While the federal administration has not yet released the breakdown of the $2.3 billion set aside for affordable housing in the 2016 budget, the CMHC said that it will provide policy advice to government authorities in private before the drafting of next year’s budget.
BC Non-Profit Housing Association CEO Kishone Roy noted that this predicament is exactly the reason why affordable housing advocates are petitioning the federal government for an annual tranche that would allow them to create a reliable strategy in the long term.
“Unlike most areas of public policy, there has essentially been 20 or 25 years of no action at all, and that’s kind of created a backlog,” Roy explained.
“You have a whole continuum of issues that built up over basically a generation and I don’t know that anybody expects any one government to fix it all right away. But this is an opportunity to actually start doing something in a substantive way.”
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The funding required by the development and application of an effective national housing strategy far exceeds what the federal government would likely be able to provide for such a purpose, the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned.