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February 16th, 2012

New Democrats introduce national housing bill over Conservative inaction

OTTAWA –New Democrat Official Opposition Housing Critic Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot) condemned Conservative inaction on affordable housing today while introducing legislation to create a National Housing Strategy.

“Harper likes to compare Canada with other OECD nations,” said Marie-Claude Morin, “And yet we are the only country in the G8, actually the only industrialized nation, that lacks a national housing strategy.”

In order to develop effective housing programs, the New Democrat bill requires the federal government to consult directly with housing organizations, aboriginal communities, and provincial, territorial, and municipal governments.

“Municipalities of all sizes across this country say that housing is their number one concern,” Andrew Cash (Davenport), NDP Deputy Housing Critic points out, “The housing sector is a major economic driver but the lack of access to affordable housing for both low and middle income Canadians is dire.”

There are up to 300,000 homeless Canadians and approximately 1.5 million households—about one out of every seven— cannot access a decent, affordable home.

While renters make up one-third of all households, rental construction over the past 15 years has accounted for only 10% of all housing starts.

A report released over the summer from the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association shows that this lack of affordable housing disproportionately affects lone-parent families, new immigrants, aboriginal communities and seniors.

“The NDP is fighting for Canadian families,” said Morin. “And a family needs a home. While Conservatives refuse to act, New Democrats will propose practical solutions to help families.”