Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently argued that local governments are the authorities best situated to address the housing crisis
Contrary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent statements, academics argued that housing remains a direct federal responsibility.
In a recent statement, Trudeau said that local governments are the authorities best situated to address their respective housing affordability issues, as they are primarily responsible for project planning, zoning, and permit issuance.
Trudeau said that the federal government’s role is to set the pace through macro-level policy, citing the Bank of Canada’s hikes as a burdensome but ultimately necessary measure to prevent an unstoppable wage-price spiral.
“We want to keep inflation down so we can have interest rates start coming down again to help people be able to afford their own homes,” he said. “I’ll be blunt: Housing isn’t a primary federal responsibility.”
Federal government’s current housing policy is lacking
However, Trudeau’s viewpoint is “neither accurate nor politically smart,” according to Carolyn Whitzman, housing policy researcher and adjunct professor at University of Ottawa, and Alexandra Flynn, associate professor at University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law.
“While the word ‘housing’ isn’t mentioned in the 1867 Constitution Act or 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a federal, provincial or municipal responsibility, the rights to ‘life, liberty and security of the person’ as well as ‘equal protection’ in the Charter can’t be achieved without adequate housing,” the duo wrote in their analysis.
“The right to housing – which Canada has promised to enforce in numerous international covenants – was enshrined in Canadian law by the current government in 2019.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attributes the current unaffordability crisis in Canada to soaring interest rates and slow urban building. https://t.co/ncgabYuNvg#mortgagenews #housingmarket #housingcrisis #interestrates #affordability— Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine (@CMPmagazine) August 2, 2023
Whitzman and Flynn argued that Trudeau’s recent statements betray the same “ambiguity, turf guarding, buck passing, and finger pointing” that the Liberal administration has accused other governments of doing.
“Rather than passing the buck for housing, the federal government must take the lead on affordable housing supply, the most pressing issue Canadians are facing today,” the analysts said.