(Quebec) The Legault government is committed to building 1,500 new homes within 5 years in the Girard budget. That’s not enough for Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who accuses the CAQ of “ignoring the housing crisis.”
“By ignoring the housing crisis, the Government of Quebec is further precarious the affordability of the metropolis and the wallets of thousands of families. He will have to explain his choice,” denounced Ms. Plante on social media, after the publication of the Quebec budget.
“The Government of Quebec’s 2023-2024 budget does not meet the demands that have been clearly expressed by the metropolis and the metropolitan region. […] The metropolis will mobilize its housing partners tomorrow to find solutions, ”she added in writing. She will not speak in person until Wednesday.
The president of the executive committee of Valérie Plante, Dominique Ollivier, is not more tender towards Quebec. She had traveled to Quebec to hear the Minister of Finance Eric Girard. “We are frankly disappointed. I don’t think it’s too much to say. »
Dominique Ollivier estimates that the funding announced by Quebec will make it possible to build barely 600 affordable housing units in Montreal. “Meanwhile, [they give] nine billion in tax cuts for individuals, that’s 50,000 homes. We could have solved the whole housing crisis” with this sum, she said.
Faced with the housing crisis, the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) had promised the erection of 11,700 new affordable housing units in the current mandate, but not everything has yet been funded. “This is the first budget in a series of four budgets over a four-year term,” Finance Minister Eric Girard said when presenting his budget.
He estimates that the total of the envelope announced in his budget, 1 billion over 5 years, is already very “significant”. However, Mr. Girard includes in this envelope an annual increase in the solidarity tax credit – $39 for a single person, $63 for a couple with two children – as well as the allocation of 2,000 additional places in the rent supplement.
It also includes in this amount a sum of 191 million in 2022-2023 to “finalize the construction” of housing that AccèsLogis had already announced for a long time, and whose construction was delayed. Housing Minister France-Élaine Duranceau had already pointed out the partners for these delays. The Girard budget recognizes, however, that these additional funds are necessary to carry out these projects “due to recent increases in interest rates and the shortage of labour” and that the lack of financing has the “consequence of slowing down the construction of approximately 3,300 AccèsLogis housing units, including 1,297 in Montreal”.
They should be built within a “two-year horizon,” Duranceau said. As for new units, it announced an improvement to its Quebec Affordable Housing Program (PHAC). The minister wants to reserve a greater place for the private sector. The first version of the program and its 1,700 “on the way” units have not been very popular with real estate developers: only 10% will be carried out by the private sector. This result is below the expectations of the Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau.
Her ministry will therefore change the formula to guarantee real estate developers one-third of the funding for the new wave of affordable housing construction, or 500 units out of 1,500. The objective, Ms. Duranceau told La Presse, is to “limit the risk from the Government of Quebec. She said that private developers who participate in the program will have to bear the cost overruns, which is not the case for non-profit organizations.
to build 1,500 new affordable housing units
to unlock affordable housing projects stalled due to rising construction costs
The housing shortage is hitting hard in all regions, whether in southern or northern Quebec. A pilot project put forward by the Legault government symbolizes its impact. He wants to build “modular” housing units to accommodate health network personnel who wish to settle in remote areas. The math: It’s hard to recruit an employee in a city if you can’t find a house there.
Quebec is therefore following the example of certain private companies that have already begun to build houses to attract workers to the regions, since “the rental markets of several municipalities concerned currently offer few places available to house these workers and allow them to settle there for the longer term”.