Newcomers worst hit by housing crisis


OTTAWA | The increase in immigration since the Liberals came to power has amplified the housing crisis, according to experts heard before the Finance Committee which is interested in the rise of inflation in the country.

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“Since 2015, we have seen a huge increase in immigration which has amplified the pressure on the real estate market,” said Jean-François Perrault, Senior Vice‐President and Chief Economist of Scotiabank, while emphasizing that he is in to welcome new arrivals.

Since 2015, Canada has welcomed an average of 300,000 newcomers per year, compared to around 250,000 previously, and Justin Trudeau promises to inflate this figure to 400,000, for a total of 1.2 million people by 2023.

“Why let so many people in if we don’t have a place to house them? asked Philip Cross, analyst at the MacDonald-Laurier Institute and former economist at Statistics Canada.

Liberal Julie Dzerowicz countered that “immigration is the key to the country’s economic growth, especially now that we have an acute labor shortage.”

Perpetuating precariousness

But jobs aren’t everything. Without accessible housing, these families find themselves in precarious situations.

“Immigrant families, sometimes seven people, have no choice but to live in a one-bedroom condo,” said Sahar Raza, of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, decrying the massive construction small apartments and not family housing.

Murtaza Haider, professor of real estate management at Ryerson University, pointed out that there has been a match between population growth and housing construction in Canada for several decades: today 5,000 to 6,000 units are being built per million people. inhabitants, which is twice less than in the 1970s.

From affordable to $2000 per month

In response to the crisis, Ottawa has invested $3.7 billion in its National Housing Strategy, but this does not help the families who need it the most, lamented Véronique Laflamme of the Front d’action populaire en réménagement urbain .

“We finance so-called affordable housing, but it gives rents of $2,000 per month,” she said, pleading for the construction of social housing.

However, in 2019, Statistics Canada indicated that newcomers to Toronto earned a median annual income of $29,600. At that time, it was necessary to earn $200,000 a year to access property.

Since then, prices have soared again and it will be more and more difficult to buy a house since the Central Bank should increase the key rate by 2% in the next year to calm inflation, predicts Mr. Perrault.

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