The Liberal government is leaving working people out in the cold yet again, as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Fall Economic Statement heaps more public money on private developers to build unaffordable, for-profit housing.
“Once again, the Liberals are doubling down on using public dollars for corporate welfare for unaffordable housing,” said CUPE’s National President Mark Hancock. “What we really needed from Minister Freeland was a plan to invest significantly in building deeply affordable, non-market housing. Instead, we got a plan that delivers for investors, not working people and their families.”
Freeland announced $15 billion to publicly finance for-profit development of market rental housing. Nothing in the initiative requires units to be affordable – meaning not more than 30% of household income. That’s more bad news for the 1,400,000 Canadians in core housing need at the moment, and the 235,000 people who experience homelessness in a given year. And what little the Liberals are offering won’t actually come until the 2025-26.
“Instead of investing in social housing needed to meet the affordability crisis that is destroying our communities, the Liberals have caved to for-profit developer lobbyists, and as a result, they’re building fewer houses that are more expensive than non-market alternatives,” said CUPE’s National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick.
CUPE represents thousands of workers across Canada in the housing sector, including public housing, community housing, seniors housing, and shelters.
Also conspicuously absent from the Fall Economic Statement: pharmacare. Despite pledging to introduce legislation on a national pharmacare plan by the end of 2023 as part of their supply and confidence agreement with the NDP, the Liberals are on the verge of breaking yet another signature promise to Canadian workers.