Liberals slammed for not spending election money on housing

by Neil Sharma on 22 Sep 2021

Canada’s 44th federal election cost an estimated $610 million—money that could have been better spent on affordable housing, a Toronto real estate broker says.

“Our government says they want to help people and make housing more affordable but their actions speak louder than words. That money could have been used on housing that people need, but instead it was used on someone’s ego. As taxpayers, we should all be very upset by that,” Davelle Morrison of Toronto-based Bosley Real Estate Ltd. said.

The 36-day election campaign, which the Liberals called in vain to bolster their government to majority status, was full of promises Morrison doesn’t think will be fulfilled. One of the Liberals’ most notable pledges pertaining to the housing sector was increasing supply in a bid to stem runaway prices, but the problem falls out of the federal government’s jurisdiction because, as Morrison reminds, it’s primarily a local problem.

“That problem falls with municipal governments,” Morrison said. “The quick fix would be to fire everyone in the permit department and start fresh because these people are slowing things down and then we have development charges, so if someone were to take a large home and turn it into a triplex, which is the fastest way to create affordable housing, that wouldn’t happen quickly because of existing rules. The city would also charge over $120,000 in development charges.”

M5V Developments, named after the first three digits of downtown Toronto’s area code, is currently building in Simcoe County and the Niagara region, where the company’s CEO says there haven’t been any delays. In fact, the reason M5V Developments chose to build projects in those areas is because their municipal governments support growth through a process that’s both reasonable and expeditious.

“The typical time for approval in these areas—and I can only speak first-hand about these areas—is 12-14 months,” Sherard McQueen said. “Our purchasers are receiving continuous updates via social media but since the approval and permitting process is so seamless, no delays have occurred.”

McQueen also says that both regions’ municipal governments have pre-consultation processes that bring together all stakeholders before land is even purchased to advise how to tender an application successfully.

“During the pandemic, the process became even more streamlined, which is a testament to the leadership in these areas, as these meetings were moved online and all city staff remained easy to get in contact with,” McQueen said. “The wait time for a pre-consultation is around one month to six weeks, so it allows developers the opportunity to make real-time decisions without delays.”

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