The Consumers Council of Canada welcomes the heightened national interest concerning developments in Canada’s housing market, exemplified by federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s initiative to create a multi-jurisdictional working group.
“The Council has taken a keen interest in consumer impacts of residential intensification in Canada and published recently the report of an expert panel assembled to give it input into this issue area,” said Council President Aubrey LeBlanc. “The report highlighted the need for much better market information to help consumers, industry and public policy makers better understand how the real estate market is working today, especially in Canada’s largest cities.”
The report Residential Intensification: The Impact on Consumers assesses necessary actions to meet the housing needs of Canadians in the 21st Century, and makes 24 recommendations based on the experience of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and Vancouver, in particular.
Residential intensification affects everyone, because we are all consumers of housing. One’s home may be impacted directly or indirectly as more people can expect to live in heavily populated neighbourhoods. More families are choosing city life, millennials hope for affordable starter homes, seniors need to ‘downsize’ and live affordably in safe, accessible ‘neighbourhoods’, and not everyone will or wants to own a home. Consumers’ needs vary.
Over a year, the panel of 12 consumers, developers and building experts met to discuss the broad impacts of rising housing densities.
The recommendations on which the panel achieved unanimous agreement address:
- housing afforability
- building performance
- municipal planning and resident lifestyles
- a new and expanded list of condo owner rights and responsibilities
- more disclosure in the marketing of new condos
- the prioritization of housing affordability for government agencies
- a new definition of affordable family housing
- deep retrofits of rental towers
- a province-wide building energy rating system
- changes to municipal Official Plans
- the creation of new density studies for public discussion
“The Council notes, also, a significant reform process by the Ontario government which will shape residential intensification and the execution of housing policy in that province,” said LeBlanc. “The Council is of the belief that a safe, secure and affordable home to live in is an important basic need to be met. The Council wants to learn more from consumers about their experiences in housing, to inform its consumer representation at this time.
“It welcomes Canadian consumers to share their experiences in housing through the Consumer Experience collection feature of its website. Listening to consumers is an important part of everything we do.”
Consumers can share their experiences from the Council’s homepage.