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More community housing could boost Canadian economy: report

In a promising revelation, a recent report from Deloitte Canada, commissioned by the Canadian Housing Renewal Association, underscores the potential for substantial economic growth in Canada through significant improvements to community housing projects. The report emphasizes that such enhancements not only address the pressing housing crisis but could also have far-reaching positive impacts on the Canadian economy.

Deloitte's research advocates for the construction of 371,600 new community housing units by 2030, aligning with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average stock of seven percent. The economic ripple effect of achieving this target is estimated to be as high as $179 billion by 2030, presenting a compelling case for increased investment in community housing initiatives.

The benefits extend beyond economic gains, as the report highlights the potential to boost productivity by attracting skilled labor to underserved areas of the country. Moreover, an improved community housing supply is envisioned to enhance the well-being of residents in these areas, offering a more stable and supportive living environment. The report also emphasizes the potential to reduce rent burdens, contributing to the improvement of overall human capital.

Margaret Pfoh, President of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association and CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, underlines the importance of social and affordable housing programs, citing Indigenous housing research that reveals a more than sevenfold return on investment. Pfoh asserts the moral and legal imperative, stating, "Providing people with dignified homes is not only morally imperative, it’s the law. Human rights include the right to housing because housing is the foundation of everything, and without it, the fabric of our society starts to disintegrate."

The report proposes five key policy recommendations aimed at bolstering community housing supply. These include increased spending on community housing projects, the creation of a dedicated pipeline for such initiatives, earmarked funding for off-reserve Indigenous communities, collaboration from stakeholders and all levels of government, and a focus on promoting supply chain solutions.

Matthew Stewart, Director of Financial Analysis at Deloitte Canada, emphasizes the pivotal role of community housing availability in addressing Canada's persistent productivity growth challenges. He states, “Canadian productivity growth has been a persistent challenge for several years and a better performance is crucial to raise the standard of living for Canadians. This study clearly shows how community housing availability can significantly contribute to improving Canadian productivity growth and through that the overall quality of life for Canadians.”

This report follows findings from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation last year, which underscored the need for Canada to add 3.5 million homes on top of planned projects to achieve affordability. The collective weight of these reports points to a critical juncture in Canada's housing landscape, where strategic investments and policy initiatives could not only alleviate the housing crisis but also become a driving force for economic growth and improved quality of life for its citizens.



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