Earlier today, Canada’s minister of housing Sean Fraser visited the UW Graduate House (Grad House) to discuss the announcement of the Housing Accelerator Fund. The $42.4 million in federal funding was announced in Kitchener this morning by Fraser, who explained that it aims to get 1,216 new homes built in the city by 2027.
Also present at the event were MPs Tim Louis and Bardish Chagger, who represent the ridings of Kitchener-Conestoga and Waterloo respectively. Speaking to students from UW, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College at the Grad House, Fraser addressed Canada’s housing crisis and took questions from attendees.
In his opening statement, Fraser spoke about the unique impact the housing crisis has had on students, saying: “There [are] way too many people who [have] an ungodly commute away from the place that they’re going to school, just because they don’t have an option.”
One question addressed by Fraser concerned housing availability amidst Canada’s rising immigration numbers. Fraser, who had previously served as the minister of immigration, refugees, and citizenship, responded by saying: “I think it’s really really dangerous to suggest that the solution to the housing crisis is to become less welcoming to newcomers.” He continued by stating his view that businesses and institutions which welcome international workers and students should have an “obligation” to support them when they arrive in Canada.
“I don’t think it’s too much to ask for post-secondary institutions — who want to continue to benefit from international students coming in — to build homes for [both domestic and international students] who are going to be studying there.”
Fraser went on to mention the government’s recent launch of the Trusted Institutions Framework. He explained that the framework would allow for faster processing of international student study permits within institutions which provide more housing for their students.
More information about the framework can be found here.