February 11th, 2019

Justin Trudeau is Failing to Address the Housing Crisis

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have neglected the housing crisis in Canada for too long, turning their backs on families who are struggling to find housing in the communities where they want to live and work. Since he’s been elected, Justin Trudeau has proved that he doesn’t understand what it’s like to struggle to find and pay for housing; he doesn’t get the urgency of the matter. But that’s the reality for far too many Canadians: it is harder than ever to find and pay for housing. People simply can’t get ahead.
Under Justin Trudeau’s government:

  • One in five Canadians are paying more than 50% of their income on housing and a growing number of people are one paycheck away from being homeless.
  • Rental vacancy rates fell to 2.4% across Canada last year. This increasing low rental supply places an upward pressure on rents, leaving more people behind. In some parts of Burnaby, the vacancy rate is two times lower than the Canadian average.
  • Fewer rental units lead to skyrocketing rents, at a time when their real wages are stagnating. Average rents in every single province rose last year and rose by 5.3% in Burnaby.
  • Today 1.7 million Canadian households are in core housing need, which is when a family spends more than 30% of their after-tax income on housing.

And what is Justin Trudeau’s answer to this?

He has twice refused to immediately act on the housing crisis. Last week, the Prime Minister voted against an NDP motion calling him to act with urgency and create 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing within ten years, and commit in Budget 2019 to completing 250,000 of those units within five years. The Prime Minister also previously voted against an NDP motion last September calling him to recognize the right to housing as a human right and to bring forward 50% of the strategy’s funding before the next election to invest in the construction of new affordable housing, new social housing units and new co-ops units; the renovation of existing social housing and old housing stock; and an immediate launch of the rental benefit.

He is telling Canadian families that are hurting that they have to wait: despite the fanfare, 90% of the funds earmarked for the National Housing Strategy won’t be spent until after the next election.

He is telling more than 1 million Canadian families that live in inadequate, unaffordable or unsuitable homes that they don’t matter. The Liberal government’s strategy is only planning to help one third of Canadian households who are in core housing need.

He is misleading Canadians by inflating the numbers to his “rhetorical advantage,” according to his housing spokesperson Adam Vaughan, when in reality most of what his government has done was done by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

He has broken his promise to waive the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units when this measure would have created new affordable housing units.

When the richest 1%, big pharmaceutical companies and rich corporations call for help, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals come running, but when Canadians are living in crisis, the Liberals tell them to wait. Their half-measures don’t cut it. Canadians need a government that is on their side, a government that understands that Canadians are facing a housing crisis, and a government that brings forward the bold solutions people need now.