REALTORS® Ready to Advocate for Accessible Housing in Canada

Canada is in the midst of a housing crisis. Affordable housing has dominated news headlines over the spring and summer of 2023, and with rising interest rates, and food prices reaching new heights, many Canadians are seeing their dream of homeownership completely out of reach.

For more than 30 years, REALTORS® have advocated for policies that encourage access to housing for all Canadians, from emergency shelter to subsidized housing to social housing and homeownership.

This year is no different. From October 15-17, 2023, Political Action Committee (PAC) Representatives will gather in the nation’s capital for the 38th annual CREA PAC Days. Made up of REALTORS® and board/association staff from across the country, PAC Reps will meet with their Members of Parliament (MPs) to discuss Canada’s housing crisis and issues affecting Canadians across the entire housing continuum.

We believe a significant contributor to this crisis is a lack of housing supply. As our advocacy efforts gain momentum, policy makers across all levels of government need to better communicate if we want to see real change.

On September 18, 2023, following a two-month constituency break, parliament resumed and since then, both the government and the official opposition have introduced bills with a strong housing focus.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland has introduced Bill C-56, titled the “Affordable Housing and Groceries Act” while the Leader of the Official Opposition, Pierre Poilievre has tabled Bill C-356, known as the “Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act“. These bills are geared toward increasing housing supply within the purpose-built rental sector. CREA is supportive of legislative measures that address housing supply.

As mentioned in our submission to the National Housing Council on the financialization of purpose-built rental housing, CREA has advocated for refunding GST/HST on the development costs associated with purpose-built rental housing.

REALTOR® recommendations for the federal government

Below are the three recommendations PAC Reps will bring to their MPs during CREA PAC Days 2023.

Recommendation 1: The establishment of a permanent national housing roundtable to bring together housing stakeholders to help address the housing crisis through an inclusive, holistic approach that emphasizes collaboration, innovation, and policy coordination.

Recommendation 2: Leveraging federal infrastructure funding with municipal, provincial, and territorial partners requiring the creation of more housing supply.

Recommendation 3: Developing a housing workforce immigration strategy to attract trade workers from abroad, while streamlining the immigration process for qualified professionals willing to work in the construction industry.

It’s important to remember advocacy is not a short-term endeavour; it’s a long-term game. The value of sustained advocacy lies in the ability to drive lasting change and shape policies. Through our continuous efforts, we can pave the way for more accessible and more equitable housing for all Canadians.

Interested in becoming a PAC Rep? Read the Guide to Becoming a PAC Rep to learn more.

Elvanee Veeramalay is CREA's Government Relations Manager, with a background in political science from the University of Ottawa. She has spent time on Parliament Hill as a political staffer and previously worked at the Canadian Urban Transit Association in public affairs and policy. In her free time, she enjoys various outdoor activities throughout the seasons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *