February 10, 1937

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I wish my hon. friend would be good enough to amplify that. The one thing I am not clear on is how the state could get back five per cent from a three per cent loan.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

I stated, Mr. Speaker, a few moments ago, that if the government were to borrow $100,000,000 at three per cent-I believe this could be done at that figure or less-the interest on that loan would be $3,000,000 a year. If the hundred million dollars were invested in a housing scheme, or if houses were erected to the worth of a hundred million dollars, the return on that money through rents and purchases should be around five per cent per year.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

But if you did that you would not have low cost housing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

That is exactly the basis on which low cost housing has been organized in the other countries of which I spoke. I will also say to the minister that the financing of housing schemes and slum clearance plans is not the great bugaboo; I think he will grant me that. There are two other far greater difficulties; the one, the system of realty taxation existing through this entire dominion; the other, the fact that under the British North America Act it is up to the provinces and the municipalities to institute action.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

That is the greatest

difficulty.

Mr. MASSEY I have said that. The greatest stumbling block in the way of ridding our cities of the scars that mar them, the greatest difficulty in the way of rehousing

Housing Policy-Mr. Massey

our rural population, is to be found, on the one hand, in the present system of realty taxation, and, on the other, in the restrictions placed upon this government by the British North America Act. If the national employment commission has spent its money and its time only on the study of taxation and can bring any recommendations on this question that are attractive to provincial and municipal governments, then their work has been well worth while on that basis alone. We cannot expect extensive building, either under building societies or under the aegis of provincial or municipal governments, until our system of taxation is completely readjusted. I urge upon the government with all the earnestness of which I am capable that full and complete study be given to this phase of our national scheme of things.

At this session of parliament-yes, and in the last session and before that-we have heard it said again and again that we cannot do this or that in the way of social legislation because the Biitish North America Act says no. If the British North America Act stands in the way of our providing the obvious necessities for this nation in respect of such matters as I have been discussing, or in such matters as social reform, then for God's sake let us amend the act! Let us not disturb its intent. Let us not disturb its principles. Let us keep intact the great purpose for which it was designed. Let us guard the great principles which motivated the minds of those who drafted it seventy ypars ago. Let us not take away any of its binding force. Let us not weaken it in such a way as to lessen the rights of minorities or to increase the rights of majorities, or in respect of any of the things which have been so important in the development of Canada. But I am one of those who firmly believe that the exploitation of labour, and other abuses which have crept into our social system, cannot and will never be eliminated until this federal parliament has the power to eliminate them. Further, I do not believe that those who drafted the act seventy years ago expected it to remain just so in perpetuity. I have too high a regard for the life and work of the late Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald to believe that at any time he had it in mind that he could continue to run this Dominion of Canada from the grave.

In conclusion, just a word that seems to me to be of the greatest importance. We realize that there are forces at work within our nation that are attempting to overthrow democracy and to undermine us,-insidious forces, at work not openly but burrowing in

underneath and preying upon the gullibility of disillusioned youth-understandably disillusioned-and upon the sensitiveness of those who have starved and shivered and suffered these many years. These foreign agents paint a rosy picture of the possibilities of development under their system. They disguise its true colour, and the picture they paint is attractive to those who have been disillusioned. They realize how sensitive are those who have been forced to live only upon the generosity of the state, who have been paid to be kept in idleness, who have been compelled to live under such conditions I have attempted to indicate this afternoon. Democracy will be safe in Canada and Canada will be safe for Canadians only so much longer if something is not done to create work and provide the opportunity to our noble fellow citizens to live in good clean homes. We may talk earnestly and seriously about this item of legislation and that, about this job of work and that, about making available, to those who are denied them, means of education, scholarships and all the rest-all splendid things; but the ultimate answer for the safety of democracy and social security is to be found nowhere but in pay envelopes and good homes! As long as men are unemployed, as long as men who want work cannot get it. as long as men are compelled to live in a state of squalor, this nation is in jeopardy.

As a parliament we are challenged to make possible the creation of work, challenged as no parliament in this dominion has been challenged before. Outside of all that I have been attempting to say in regard to human values, moral values, social values in connection with the need of housing, there is this crying need for the creation of work. In the words of the resolution:

... in the opinion of this house, the government should give full and immediate consideration to the setting up of a housing plan, with a thought to eliminating slum conditions, to overcoming the shortage of sufficient dwellings, adequately, properly and happily to house our population; and to making possible to the working man who wants to build, and who is at present unable to build, the building of his own home.

It was Walt Whitman who wrote:

The house builder at work in cities or anywhere,

The preparatory jointing, squaring, sawing, mortising,

The hoist-up of beams, the push of them in their places, laying them regular,

Setting the studs by their tenons in the mortises, according as they were prepared,

The blows of the mallets and hammers-

Paeans and praises to him!

744 COMMONS

Housing Policy-Mr. Ross (St. Paul's)

Mr. DOUGLAS G. ROSS (St. Paul's): Mr. Speaker, as a member of this house I consider 'that I represent all classes of citizens, among whom are the unemployed, the unemployable and the low wage earners all of whom require low cost housing. Therefore I should like to say a few words in support of the motion of the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey), also to congratulate him upon his wide grasp of the problem.

In the riding from which I come, St. Pauls, Toronto, conditions of living in some sections are appalling. Of that I have personal knowledge. The Bruce report deals with the slum areas there. I am sorry to say that in my riding is to be found a majority of the slum areas of the city of Toronto. In the larger centres of population there is a necessity for stern and serious work to remedy the loathsome conditions which have grown up in what are called slum areas. It is not a new problem, and it is not true to say that it has not been studied in Toronto and other places in Canada during the past ten or fifteen years. Improved housing conditions were advocated in England more than one hundred years ago; a manufacturing philanthropist did this. Napoleon III saw the need of it in Paris and took steps, perhaps not as compelling as they might have been, to bring about some measure of reform. Within recent years, Germany, Russia, Sweden and other European countries have attempted a solution with varying degrees of success. As I said, Great Britain has been studying the problem for many years. One of the most useful examples that we can find in the world is provided in England where some three million houses have been erected at a cost defrayed by state subsidies, or by local authorities.

What is a slum? In the first place, it is an ugly scar upon the face of any decent community. In the second place it is the breeding ground for disease and crime. Crime does not lurk in open spaces and in decent environments. As disease and crime are a wasteful expense to the nation, why should not the state provide the means of eradicating both disease and crime, by obliterating slum areas and making it possible for people to enjoy life that is theirs?

I offer, for the serious consideration of the house, the principle that proper housing is a public service which should be assumed by the state in the same way that education, health, and compensation for injuries sustained in industry, mothers' pensions, old age pensions and unemployment insurance are state obligations. Some may cry socialism. It is .not socialism for people to be able to wash

rMr. Massey.]

their faces, to bathe regularly, to breathe clean air, to drink pure water, to avoid disease, as well as to be educated, in order to discharge their responsibilities as citizens.

Action already taken through the Dominion Housing Act and the rehabilitation measures has to do with a class of citizens who are in no particular difficulty regarding housing. The dominion act deals with builders, owners and those who are not usually in need of assistance from the state. Those who borrow the money under the rehabilitation measures are in the same category. The loans available under the Dominion Housing Act are made upon the security of property which has to be maintained and amortised upon an economic basis; that is to say, owners of houses coming under this act are, theoretically, and to a large extent actually, in a position to pay out of their income enough to discharge the maintenance and amortisation of the property; the same thing is true of borrorvers under the rehabilitation measures.

The Minister of Finance has said that under the home improvement plan all those who are credit worthy can get loans from the banks. What about the others who are not considered credit worthy-the low wage earners, the unemployed, the unemployables? They are, unfortunately, a very large proportion of the population. If they are not credit worthy, what will they do? A great many of them are decent people who, through lack of opportunities, are in the position in which they find themselves to-day.

Something must be done. These arrangements are all very well in their place and I think they will stimulate employment and building to some extent, although I think in their present form they are not likely to be taken advantage of on anything like the scale that their sponsors hope and no doubt expect. But the big housing problem in Canada is created by conditions surrounding low cost housing. To state the position clearly, it may be assumed that the economic cost of maintaining and amortising, in forty years, a new standard four-room housing unit in an urban area is $21.76 per month, or approximately $261 per annum. The assumption is that the cost per house is $3,000. The economic cost is made up as follows:

Per cent

Taxes (assessment 60 per cent of

value) 2'40

Management 0-15

Amortization D05

Maintenance 1-00

Insurance 0-10

Interest 4'00

Total 8-70

Housing Policy-Mr. Ross (St. Paul's)

There is a large class in Canada consisting of unemployables, unemployed and low wage earners whose ability to pay rent is limited. At the present time in the city of Toronto unemployed and unemployables have one-half their rent paid for them if they are on relief. The general situation is that all families in the unemployable, unemployed and low wage earning class inevitably gravitate to the house which can be rented at an average of $12 per month, whereas the economic rent for modern standard houses would be, roughly, $21.76. Therefore there is a condition under which all these families are compelled, generally speaking, to live in houses at least fifty per cent below standard. In view of this situation it is my opinion that the federal government should cooperate with the provincial and municipal authorities to bridge the gap between the economic rent of standard low cost houses and the ability to pay. The present occupants of these houses, unless their conditions improve, will gradually move down the ladder until they find themselves eventually in the poorest possible type of house that municipal bylaws permit to be lived in at all. In Toronto we now have a rehabilitation bylaw which forces property owners to maintain low cost houses under conditions as regards sanitation, and so on, as set out in the bylaw. Failure to comply with the bylaw results in the house being condemned and closed up.

The trouble is that there is no provision for the replacement of low cost houses in this country. If the ability to pay rent is represented by the sum of $12 per month and the economic rent necessary to support the investment is $22 per month, how can there be any replacement except with state assistance? Much is heard of private enterprises, building societies and public utility companies in Great Britain. But there is the problem-a fifty per cent gap between the ability to pay and the economic rent. How can private enterprises, in any form, be expected to enter a field of business which involves a loss of fifty per cent of the capital before you start?

The national housing committee of Great Britain made a report in 1934. The following is a summary of their views as adapted to Canada. If the state enters into a housing program, let us look at what might be called the assets and liabilities. What is the financial liability involved? Let us suppose that the nation, having built 10,000 houses, allows them to be occupied free of rent. Suppose, further, that the cost of the houses, including land, was as high as $3,000 per house, or $30,000,000; then the economic annual cost at 8-7 per cent would be $2,610,000. The

supposition that all houses would be occupied free of rent is, of course, absurd. On any reasonable assumption the cost to the exchequer of the investment involved would not be excessive. If all the annual cost to the nation were collected from those occupying the houses, there would be no loss to the state. The fact is that cheap finance minimises subsidy and risk alike through bringing the economic rent within the wage-earner's capacity to pay. There will be a financial liability in respect of housing where land values are high and in respect of certain low paid workers who could not afford a rent of $22 per month, but public finance is already assuming burdens in these respects so that any new burden will not entail entirely fresh obligations but will replace obligations which would arise in any case in the course of granting relief. Beyond this, the risks involved are likely to be small as, on balance, the $22 per month which I have suggested is probably below the average of the rents already being paid under conditions of overcrowding.

It is improbable that at least fifty per cent of the annual cost would not be collected. In this case the annual cost to the nation would be $1,305,000. Against possible liabilities may be set certain very real, if in some cases immeasurable, assets. Good housing means less expenditure on prevention of disease, less crime, greater benefit from education, less unemployability as opposed to unemployment. The elimination of bad conditions has a cash value as well as a moral value to the nation. Further, there are wider economic aspects to consider. The value of decent living conditions to the state has, in my opinion, been too little regarded by the country as a whole. Looking at this aspect from the purely selfish point of view as far as the state is concerned, and considering that upwards of sixty per cent of delinquents come from areas where improper housing obtains, and that a delinquent is a possible embryo criminal, one must face the possible cost to the state in this regard. Each delinquent is a possible liability that with proper housing and living conditions might be converted into a real asset.

The question of absorbing labour by industries catering to a home market becomes an important part of the attack on unemployment. A bold and constructive housing policy will have this effect and will increase employment both directly and indirectly through the activity generated. Tangible assets will be created while, to offset any liabilities on the national finances, the cost of unemployment will be directly reduced and the yield of income tax increased by the profits of those in

746 COMMONS

Housing Policy-Mr. Ross (St. Paul's)

building and allied industries as well as of those who benefit from the increased spending power of wage-earners employed through the scheme.

The conclusion is that an effort on the scale indicated would not prove in any way a strain on the nation's financial resources but would contribute materially to its economic recovery. It may be that these figures are not exact, but they are true enough to enable anyone to get a proper view of the serious condition existing as affecting thousands of families in this country who, through no fault of their own, are in one of the categories referred to, and also a view of a possible remedy.

I realize that many difficulties will have to be surmounted in dealing with this problem, but I do not think the problems are insurmountable. The question of competition with private landlords is a troublesome one, but as there is no great likelihood of a substitute program being commenced on a very large scale, this question will, no doubt, become clearer as time goes on.

A housing scheme in Toronto was carried out as the result of an appropriation made by parliament, I believe, about 1921, to relieve the housing shortage. The funds provided by federal authorities were relayed in this form to the provinces, thence to the municipalities and thence to a housing commission, which was set up at that time, not to be confused with the Toronto Housing Company. The money thus loaned to Toronto became a direct liability of the city. The enterprise has not been successful. We must bear in mind, however, that this housing scheme of 1921 was not a low cost housing scheme. That field of housing, in my mind, is not ordinarily to the same extent a basis for government assistance. That field is private enterprise where competition plays its full part.

The low cost housing field, as I have stated, is one in which the principal part that private enterprise can play is to keep going thousands of dilapidated, obsolete, broken down old houses. That is not compatible with a young, rich country like Canada with its great potential wealth and rapidly developing natural resources. The crying need of the moment is for a federal low cost housing policy that will serve the double purpose of replacing obsolete, dilapidated, low cost houses, and thereby creating much needed employment in building and allied trades and raising the standard of housing for thousands of families in this country, gaining all the economic, sociological advantages that such a change would bring about.

I hope the low cost housing problem will receive the earnest consideration of the government and hon. members. Broad and courageous action will bring, I believe, rich, economic and sociological returns. I understand the National Employment Commission and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) are giving this subject their careful thought.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Joseph Léon Vital Mallette

Liberal

Mr. VITAL MALLETTE (Jacques-Car-tier):

Mr. Speaker, in presenting this motion the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) made his explanations with his customary skill in debate and convincing eloquence. He dealt with the subject in a manner both thorough and sympathetic, and undoubtedly gained for his motion the support of the house, which is ever on the alert to cooperate in any movement likely to improve conditions for Canadians, especially those in unfortunate circumstances.

In his presentation the hon. member covered his subject so thoroughly that not very much remains to be said, and I should not have risen from my seat did I not believe it to be my duty to offer to my colleagues some suggestions which I believe to be constructive in the fight against slums.

In 1935 parliament adopted the Dominion Housing Act. The object of that legislation, as I understand it, was twofold. First, it was to help people already in possession of a small amount of money to borrow at reasonable rates and for a reasonable period the balance of the sum required to build their own homes, and thereby provide employment. As I have watched the application of the measure in my county I have come to the conclusion that the lending companies are not deeply interested in loans on houses costing less than $5,000, and for that reason people with small salaries are left out in the cold. An agent for the largest of these companies has explained to me that one of the difficulties was that houses in course of erection had to be inspected at least twice a week, and that where a house was being built fifteen or twenty miles from their head office the expense and loss of time in travelling to and fro was so considerable that they could not entertain proposals from other than the larger centres of the dominion. Nevertheless I do not make this statement as a criticism of the measure, because I believe this act was a step in the right direction. As its operations expand I am sure ways and means will be found of making it more useful. To a certain extent it will help the fight against slum conditions that the hon. member for Greenwood has begun to-day.

After passing the Dominion Housing Act we were asked to consider legislation to in-

Housing Policy-Mr. Mallette

crease employment by encouraging the repair of rural and urban homes. That, too, was in my opinion a step in the right direction. I have discussed the matter with bank managers with whom I am acquainted, and hon. members will know how sympathetic they are towards would-be borrowers. May I add that at that time I was not a would-be borrower. These men told me that the act was working well, and that they were looking forward with confidence to even better results in the spring. Hon. members may be interested to learn, in passing, that for once in my life I had the privilege of refusing a loan from a bank, and certainly that gives one a thrill.

I submit that while these measures are praiseworthy, if we are to avoid the prevalence of slums we must take steps to stop their increase. One of our first duties should be to help the small home owner to retain his home. When the previous administration introduced the Dominion Housing Act I believe it was received as good legislation. I submit, however, that they put the cart before the horse. In the first instance we had legislation to encourage people to build houses, and later legislation was introduced to encourage the repair of existing houses; but nothing is done for the poor fellow who has a house and who should be encouraged to keep it.

In his eloquent presentation the hon. member for Greenwood referred to the value of the home. All hon. members know its value, and it need not be described in terms of poetry or statistics. We know what the home means, and I for one believe that if we are to go ahead with social legislation of this kind something must be done to help small home owners to retain their ownership. It is my humble opinion that every citizen should own his own home just as he owns his own clothes.

It is said that in the sixteenth century when Francis I, King of France, was planning to send navigators westward to explore the then newly discovered America, representations were made to him that the Spaniards and Portuguese were already in possession. It is reported that the witty King of France, Francis I, known as le roi chevalier, the knight king, replied, "Well, I should like to see the article in Adam's testament which has willed the whole or any part of America to the Spaniards or Portuguese." As regards the ownership of houses or land, I should like to see the article in the same testament which has willed all the good things of this life, including the earth and homes, to just a few privileged people. If when the king

of France on that occasion referred to America he had known how conditions in America would develop, I believe he would have been surprised, and most certainly would have agreed that the good things in this country should not be the property of only a more fortunate class.

Hon. members may say it is easy for me or for any other hon. member to make a suggestion as to how best to preserve our homes. I know that if I made a suggestion my good friend the Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning) would meet me with his blue pencil and say, "How do you propose to do it?" Let me admit at the outset that I am not a great financier. Possibly if I were a great financier such as Sir Herbert Holt, Mr. Wood or Mr. Gundy I might carry more weight when speaking to this honourable chamber, but even as a small financier I have a little plan I should like to present. It is not very long, nor is it difficult to follow. If the preceding government and the present one can find means of producing money for those intending to build or to repair homes, why could .not the same provisions be widened so as to include those who want to keep their homes? The government could undertake the responsibility for a small proportion of the loans, just as is being done under the Dominion Housing Act, or under the legislation to increase employment by encouraging the repair of rural and urban homes.

I am told that bank deposits have reached a record high. It is well known that every day insurance companies receive large fortunes through the payment of premiums. Trust companies have huge funds to invest. The banks have had to lower their interest rates as an inducement for people to borrow. The money is available, and might be had, and the beneficial effect of helping small home owners would be tremendous. The first care of the owner is that of taxes, and the second is that of interest on the mortgage. If an owner paid his taxes the money would go to the municipality, which, in turn, would pay its loan to the bank, thereby causing the money to circulate.

I do not wish to be sectional in my observations, but hon. members are no doubt familiar with the small rentiers of the province of Quebec. These people have a few thousand dollars invested in their small properties; the money is out at fairly reasonable rates of interest, and when they do not get the interest they are ruined and have to go on relief. I speak for two classes, namely those who have homes they want to retain, and the small rentiers who are trying to keep their savings loaned on mortgages. I hope

Housing Polky-Mr. Dunning

some way may be found to help both classes, and I am sure the minister will give his best attention to any suggestion which is made. In case hon. members may say this suggestion has nothing to do with slum clearance as proposed by the hon. member for Greenwood, I say it has a lot to do with it. It would stop the ever-increasing number of people who are forced to go on relief. I know it has always been said of the people of Canada that everyone should stand on his owm feet and fight his own battles. If the present conditions were applicable only to Canada, then I would say there was something wrong, but they are applicable to the whole -world. I have no doubt that the government is doing its best to overcome these conditions.

Let us go a step further and try to help this one class which deserves every possible encouragement. I refer to the small home owners. I support the motion to that extent. I hope that speakers who follow me, and who no doubt will be better qualified than I am, will particularly discuss this point, because I believe its merits are obvious.

Hon. CHARLES A. DUNNING (Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) on his manner of presenting the resolution now before the house. I take it that the resolution itself and the hon. member's presentation of it constitute approval of the steps which the government has taken and is attempting to take in connection with this very important matter. I was pleased indeed to note that while the subject lends itself to eloquence-my hon. friend was indeed eloquent-he did not allow his eloquence to carry him away from the practical considerations and realities of the situation. I refer particularly to his recognition of the fact that complete jurisdiction with respect to this problem does not rest in this chamber or in this parliament.

From the time of confederation all measures with respect to the building of houses have been provincial laws or municipal bylaws passed under authority of provincial legislation. We might as well face that fact. Recently we have been put in our place by a very high authority with respect to our powers. Our powers with regard to matters of this kind are limited very largely to paying out the money of all the people of Canada for the benefit of some of the people of Canada, under conditions which are largely affected if not governed by provincial jurisdiction. I am not for one moment saying that we should not assist in the national interest. My purpose in rising was rather to

give some information to the house with respect to the working out during its short history of the present Dominion Housing Act.

While the Dominion Housing Act was placed upon the statute books before this administration came into office, in the nature of things it was not at all active. In fact the first loan was made under its provisions in September, 1935. The information I am about to give may be regarded as a year's experience in developing the provisions of the present housing act. Up to the end of January. 1.119 family units had been provided for under the terms of the act. The term " family unit " is used because, as hon. members know, the act applies not only to individual houses but to duplexes and moderate sized apartment buildings. The only way to get any appreciation of the working of the act was to deal with it on the basis of family units. These 1,119 family units were provided at a cost of $5,376,000.

Our experience has been one of endeavouring, through administrative methods and in cooperation with the lending institutions which have entered into agreements under the law, to develop means of overcoming the manifest weaknesses which developed as a result of experience. I am not claiming for one moment that all weaknesses have been overcome. After endeavouring to administer the act during last year I do say that I believe it contains the framework within which can be fitted many very useful housing schemes. We have been compelled to modify the regulations in certain particulars. Having regard to what I said a few moments ago, we must remember that we are operating by agreement.

The major part of the money is supplied by the lending institutions which must comply with the conditions of the act. But these lending institutions are not compelled to lend. I do not think any housing scheme in England, Sweden, Canada or anywhere else is based upon the lender being compelled to lend. There are in existence direct governmental housing schemes in which the element of compulsion by political pressure is present, but in none of the schemes which have been advanced and discussed in this house or which have been considered as suggesting anything useful for our purposes has there been the provision that the lender is compelled to lend. I think everyone will concede that such a principle could not be developed.

On the other hand, the degree of willingness on the part of the lender to lend with reasonable freedom is one of the most vital features of the plan. We have had con-

Housing Policy-Mr. Dunning

siderable experience in this regard during the past year. Many members of the house have communicated with me and indicated that in their particular locality, especially in what might be called the smaller communities as distinguished from our great cities, the lending institutions are unwilling to lend under the terms of the act. As a result of investigation and discussion with some of the lending institutions we found that in some cases the objection was to the extremely heavy local taxation which, in the opinion of the lender, rendered his loan unsafe. In other cases objection was raised to the cost of inspecting a few loans. This matter was referred to by the hon. member for Jacques Cartier (Mr. Mallette). The lending institutions found the expense so great as not to warrant their embarking on the granting of loans in these small communities. An endeavour was made to meet this situation and also to meet the complaint that the scheme did not encourage the building of low cost homes, that it operated rather to encourage what might be called the middle field of residential buildings. An effort was made to meet that, partly by the architectural competition held last spring for designs for low cost houses, but mainly by the changes in administration which were made last September by order in council under the authority of the act, designed to encourage the lending institutions to make loans for low cost homes and to make loans in the smaller and more remote communities. In the order in council, authority was secured to bear a greater share of the loss and of the special expenses made in making these two classes of loans-the small loans, and loans in small communities. The original formula for allocating losses was modified. Wherever the lending institution made an 80 per cent loan for an amount of $4,000 or less, the dominion government agreed to bear 80 per cent of the loss in the case of such loans up to $3,000, 75 per cent of the loss where the loan exceeded $3,000 but did not exceed $3,500, and 70 per cent of the loss where the loan exceeded $3,500 but did not exceed $4,000. The effect of this order in council is now becoming more visible, particularly in the erection of the lower cost houses. The average cost per house since the scheme was inaugurated has been $4,861. Obviously that is high. That is not a low cost house. But as evidence of the greater development since September last, as a result of the order in council to which I am referring, I might point out that ninety-nine family units were built in the month of January, and the average cost of the whole ninetynine was $4,123, a drop in the average for the whole scheme from $4,861 to $4,123, greater emphasis being placed, as these figures show, upon the lower cost unit.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Will the minister be good enough to state in what parts of Canada these houses were constructed? Was it pretty much all over the country or was it concentrated in any particular areas?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I could give it by provinces and the figures for some of the larger cities, but it is a pretty long list.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Just generally.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

In Ontario the number of family units is 472; Quebec, 503; New Brunswick, 13; Nova Scotia, 101; Prince Edward Island, 6; Manitoba, 13; Saskatchewan, nil; Alberta, nil; British Columbia, 11.

With respect to the lower cost houses, I was interested in the remarks of the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Massey) with respect to Sweden's experience. I have read quite a bit regarding their scheme. While I have not had the privilege, as my hon. friend had this summer of seeing it, I have, as I am sure he has, studied most of the authorities with regard to it, and I was particularly interested in my hon. friend's citation of figures with respect to the rental cost. I take it he was referring to the lowest cost plan now. in force in Sweden in the city of Stockholm.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Correct.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

And the rental cost was $20?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

Twenty dollars a month

for the first ten years; S17.50 for the next ten years, and $7.50 for the last ten years.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

And that included taxes?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

It included everything one can think of, even chimney sweeping.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

The only comparison I

can make of what is possible under the Dominion Housing Act is to say that an approved house-that is, all the specifications have been approved by the housing administration of the Department of Finance-containing a living room, kitchen, bathroom, three bedrooms, full basement, central heating, insulated and well constructed-incidentally, the criticism that we have had is that our specifications are too stiff-can be built on an average lot for approximately $2,700. An eighty per cent mortgage would amount to $2,160, leaving an equity of $540 to be supplied by the owner. There is the difficulty.

Housing Policy-Mr. Dunning

The monthly cost to pay interest and amortise the principal on that house would be $14.12. I submit that $14.12 to amortise a house of that kind puts it definitely in the category of low cost housing.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
CON

Denton Massey

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MASSEY:

It does not include taxation?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I am just coming to the joker. The main reason why people who have $500, and who could get a home of that kind of which they would be proud, are not going into the scheme, is not because of any interest factor, not because the $14.12 per month is too much for them, but because the local taxes are what they are, and again I say that is within provincial and municipal jurisdiction.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
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CCF

Abraham Albert Heaps

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. HEAPS:

The minister stated that

the house including the lot could be built for $2,700, and that it comprised six rooms, fully modern. Am I correct in that?

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

I prefer my own description, if my hon. friend does not mind, because I know it is accurate. I shall give the description again: "Low cost housing plans have

recently been approved"-it is definite, you see-"for a house which can be built in many sections of Canada at a cost of $2,400." I allowed in my statement, when I said $2,700, $300 for the lot. This house contains living room, kitchen, bathroom, three bedrooms, full basement, central heating system. It is also insulated and well constructed.

Topic:   QUESTIONS PASSED AS ORDERS FOR RETURNS
Subtopic:   HOUSING POLICY
Sub-subtopic:   ELIMINATION OF SLUM CONDITIONS AND PROVISIONS FOR OVERCOMING SHORTAGE OF DWELLINGS
Permalink

February 10, 1937