The Liberal Party of Canada has taken a significant step in recognizing and combating the Canadian housing crisis by creating a new cabinet role, that of the Minister of Housing. The new cabinet was sworn in on Tuesday and featured many new and familiar faces, with Trudeau expressing a commitment to “delivering for Canadians in the coming years.”
Ahmed Hussen, the man tasked with the job as well as the role of Minister of Diversity and Inclusion, immigrated to Canada in 1993 and was previously the minister of Families, Children and Social Development in 2019 and Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship in 2017. Before that, he was a practicing lawyer with a degree from the University of Ottawa.
All that goes to say he seems like a capable enough candidate for the role, but many eyes are on him to tackle the complex issue of housing.
The current situation in Canadian housing has been commonly referred to as a housing crisis and was a major issue in this past federal election. Every major party made fixing our housing market a central platform issue on the campaign trail, and many Canadians saw it as one of the most pressing concerns along with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past year housing supply has struggled to keep up with high demand, and housing prices across the country have risen far beyond what many are able to afford. Recently, the UBS Group in Switzerland named the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver as some of the worst potential housing bubbles in the world.
The Liberal party laid out many promises during their campaign that they say will help increase affordability and accessibility for Canadians. These measures include making purchases easier for first-time home buyers, repairing or restoring over a million existing homes, and limiting access for foreign buyers.
In the past, Trudeau’s government received criticism for failing to address housing issues sufficiently in his previous term, as the market began to run rampant. Already, Hussen and the Liberals have been criticized by the National Post, calling his title “absurdly broad and meaningless” and depicting a fantasy image of buzzwords being thrown at a ministry position as an afterthought to appease young voters.
However, the creation of a standalone ministry to address housing where there was once none at least signals a heightened commitment to the issue. Unfortunately, it seems fairly late to be getting serious on housing. The Liberal housing plan is still in its early stages, but if they are able to deliver on their promises, hopefully, we will see a better state for the Canadian housing market.