It may have been released with great fanfare by the prime minister himself, but Canada’s new National Housing Strategy is underwhelming, writes the University of Toronto’s David Hulchanski in an op-ed for the Globe and Mail.
Hulchanski, a professor of housing and community development in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, cites the narrow focus of the document, which he says barely mentions the middle class, and the housing strategy's lack of depth.
“The document provides no assessment of Canada's housing system, what works well, what does not,” he writes.
What it does include is “a random and confusing set of spending initiatives, all involving billions of dollars, most starting after the next election.”
He writes that $11 billion of the funding is actually in loans, not new spending for those who need it most, and several other billions depend on other levels of government to help – “the surest way to delay, if not kill, any proposal.”
Hulchanski writes that Canadians need a different kind of strategy, one that sets high-level goals and outlines how to achieve them – and then provides the necessary resources to do so.
“A real national housing strategy would aim for an inclusive housing system, much like our health-care system. It would address (1) how to stimulate adequate housing production, (2) how to produce a mix of housing choice (tenure, location, size, quality) and (3) how to assist those who cannot afford adequate housing. It would recognize and address the remaining systemic racism in our housing system.”
What it would not do, he writes, is just “sprinkle a few subsidies here and there.”