Federal housing minister pledges unprecedented housing measures as Trudeau meets Liberal caucus

Changing 'the financial equation' for builders among measures to be unveiled, says minister

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser says the Liberal government will bring in unprecedented measures to help with the lack of affordable dwellings. | Mike Howell, Glacier Media

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser says the Liberal government is set to announce unprecedented measures to help with the lack of affordable dwellings in Canada.

His comments come before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to meet with most of his party's 158 MPs behind closed doors as they get ready for the fall parliamentary sitting amid a slump in the polls.

Fraser says Ottawa is planning to bring in new measures to tackle the housing crisis in the coming months, such as changing "the financial equation" for builders who had to pause construction on approved projects due to high interest rates.

He also says the federal government will try to speed up how long it takes cities to issue permits and find ways to attract immigrants with construction skills to Canada.

Fraser says an announcement that Trudeau is scheduled to make later today in London, Ont., will be "the first time that we've done something like this in Canada."

This morning, MPs are meeting in regional groups to touch base on issues their constituents have raised, as well as unflattering polling numbers in surveys the Liberals commissioned this summer.

The caucus retreat follows a summer that has seen the Conservatives rise in the polls over issues such as housing and the cost of living.

Quebec MP Brenda Shanahan, the Liberal caucus chair, says fellow MPs are having "very frank" conversations.

Various media reports have quoted backbench MPs as saying the party isn't communicating its accomplishments well and that Trudeau isn't listening to the concerns of MPs who are not in cabinet.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press