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QUESTION PERIOD — Infrastructure and Communities

Affordable Housing

December 12, 2023

My question is for the Leader of the Government. Leader, Canada has a housing problem. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, we will be 3.5 million housing units short by 2030. Your government’s solution to the funding problem is to create 37,000 units, which is a drop in the bucket.

Today we learned that the government plans to relaunch Sears catalogues with pre-approved plans to facilitate construction. At first, I thought that was a joke, but apparently it’s not. Is the government running out of ideas? Isn’t it time for you to consider letting someone else take over?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

The challenge in tackling the housing problem is for each level of government to do its part with the private sector. With changes to legislation and measures announced in the budget, the Government of Canada is doing its part to create opportunities and initiatives to ensure that the private sector can contribute to creating and building more affordable housing for Canadians. This approach respects not only provincial and territorial jurisdictions, but also the role of the private sector.

This in no way respects provincial jurisdictions. Are you aware that it’s the municipalities that grant building permits, with plans that are submitted, files that are reviewed by urban planning committees, and site planning and architectural integration plans, to ensure that each property integrates into a residential neighbourhood? You want to offer a Sears catalogue of pre-approved plans. Are you seriously saying that this respects provincial jurisdictions?

Senator Gold [ - ]

That is exactly what I said. The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and municipalities to meet their needs and lend a hand, in circumstances that are relevant and specific to their needs.

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