REALTORS® Advocate for Housing Workforce Immigration Strategy
TAGS: Housing Policy Immigration Infrastructure Funding PAC Days Permanent Housing Roundtable
During the 2023 Political Action Committee (PAC) Days conference hosted by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), delegates from BCREA and all eight of BC’s real estate boards met with Members of Parliament (MPs) in Ottawa to advocate for meaningful solutions to address Canada’s increasingly urgent housing crisis.
More than 400 REALTORS® from across Canada attended PAC Days. Throughout the event, BC REALTORS® met with many MPs representing federal ridings across BC and presented three recommendations for MPs to bring forward as housing attainability solutions.
Recommendation One: Establish a Permanent National Housing Roundtable
Our first recommendation is a reiteration of last year’s call for the federal government to establish a permanent national housing roundtable. While the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates the need for 5.8 million more homes to restore affordability by 2030, the current rate of construction demonstrates a projected shortage of 3.5 million homes. It is clear that the levels of government are not effectively coordinating their approaches to addressing this acute housing crisis. A permanent national housing roundtable that includes representation from all key housing sector stakeholders and every level of government is needed to collaborate more effectively to address the housing crisis with an inclusive, holistic, data-driven, and innovative approach.
Recommendation Two: Leverage Infrastructure Funding
Our second recommendation also parallels our previous advocacy for the federal government to ensure any new federal infrastructure funding, including but not limited to bilateral agreements, have conditions requiring the creation of new housing. We are encouraged by the federal government’s recent move to align the cabinet portfolios in charge of housing and infrastructure. However, this alignment must be used strategically to incentivize provinces, territories, and municipalities to commit to increasing housing supply. This can be done by linking federal infrastructure funding to goals such as new housing commitments, revising zoning laws, and speeding up planning and approval processes.
Recommendation Three: Develop a Housing Workforce Immigration Strategy
In recognition of the severity of the construction industry labour shortage, our third recommendation is for the federal government to develop a housing workforce immigration strategy that attracts tradespeople from abroad while streamlining the immigration process for qualified professionals willing to work in the construction industry. This recommendation is informed by a Conference Board of Canada research study commissioned by CREA, BCREA, and the Ontario Real Estate Association, which demonstrates that implementing small-scale immigration programs targeting the labour shortages in residential construction can be a step towards addressing the housing crisis in Canada.
We are pleased that MPs from across the political spectrum were receptive to these recommendations from REALTORS®. Thank you to all the REALTORS® who participated in this important opportunity to advocate for policies that promote effective solutions to the challenges facing Canada’s housing sector.
We are committed to maintaining the dialogue with MPs and elected officials from across BC. We encourage you to also continue advocating for these important policy solutions not just during PAC Days, but beyond.
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