According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., rental fees in Canada went up to 2.7% in average in 2017. This says that the average Canadian homeowner—or renter—pays 947 dollars a month in order to keep a roof above their family’s heads and maintain a semblance of social stability. On top of the rising rental costs, the housing crisis in Canada demands an increase of more housing stock in the market.
It is clear, then, that urban development in Canada must not only call for the construction of additional housing—it must focus on affordable housing for the middle class and below.
The Non-myth: Affordable Housing
A Canadian from the working class, earning above the minimum wage, can sustain a mortgage on a house in the late 90’s. With the shortage on affordable houses and the cancellation of the federal social housing program in 1993, what was a possibility in the past is now just a dream for most Canadians.
Affordable Housing for the Greater Good
Urban development in Canada can be a tricky thing, but how can we turn this dream into reality once again?
Capital Funding. The government must flex its arms once again in the building of affordable rental houses for low-income citizens, and not just focus on the construction of high-rise condominiums that suit the upper middle class. According to Daniel Greenhalgh of ENM Construction Management, home ownership is one of the major movers of social equity, helping our low-income citizens beat the vicious cycle of poverty. Social housing is the key.
Cutting the red tape. Housing supply in Canada tends to fall behind very strong demands because of the red tape that keeps homebuilders from, well, building more houses. According to Macleans, these construction companies are required to obtain numerous permits from the city government. This process alone—securing the required permits and certificates—can take more than two years, thus holding up the companies even before they begin building.
Cutting the cost for the red tape. According to Macleans, the process of securing permits in Vancouver can lead up to 80,000 dollors per housing unit on the average. This cost, or course, will trickle down to the rental fees or sale prices of houses—a significant burden to homebuilders and homebuyers alike.
Enforcing laws on homeowners’ rights. One of the reasons for the skyrocketing prices of rental houses in Canada is the limited supply. Many Canadians are forced to settle for apartments or homes that barely meet the legal safety and building requirement. They cut almost half of their monthly income to pay rent and ensure their family’s safety despite the molds, rats, and other problems.
These are just a few steps our government can take so we can make urban development in Canada inclusive and beneficial for the people, not just the market. These actions can lead to the greater good: significantly lower homelessness rates, increased security and stability of Canadian citizens, and a better nation.