Learning from Canada's National Housing Strategy at #NHCSydney

Evan Siddall, CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, presented key features of the newly released Strategy

13 Dec 2017

Mr Evan Siddall, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), presented the key features of the newly released Canadian National Housing Strategy and the political challenges in its implementation in a video address to the 2017 National Housing Conference.

The guiding principle for the 40 billion dollar, 10 year National Housing Strategy is that housing rights are human rights and that the Strategy must reduce inequity.

There are many parallels between the Canadian and Australian systems. Similar to Australia, Canada is a federation of 10 Provinces and 3 Territories under a national Government. The Strategy is strongly premised on the national Government taking a leadership role with the Provinces and Territories, who currently provide 80 per cent of social housing.

In addition to generating positive social and housing outcomes, the money spent through the Strategy will bring benefits to the economy, as modelling suggests for every $1 spent on residential housing construction the GDP gets over $1.50 in benefits.

There are a number of different targets for the Strategy, including cutting in half the number of people using homeless shelters and ensuring 530,000 households are no longer in housing need.

New dwellings built under the Strategy will be mixed income units in inclusive communities close to public transport, employment, school, health care and other amenities; have 20 per cent of units be accessible for disabled residents; perform 25 per cent better than existing energy codes; and meet minimum affordability requirements.

As well as tackling housing outcomes for Indigenous Canadians, the Strategy also includes an important role for housing data research, with $241 million being invested through CMHC in ‘closing research gaps’.

‘If we think of housing more as a function—shelter— and less of a form, then we think in terms of people instead of bricks and mortar. I believe Canada can, and indeed should, be a beacon to the world on the merits of social inclusivity’, says Mr Siddall. ‘Housing is a vehicle for building stronger more resilient cities and this has been a driving force behind our work on Canada’s National Housing Strategy.’

The video presentation by Mr Evan Siddall is embedded above or available via the AHURI Youtube channel.