July 22, 1946


this figure will be substantially increased. In addition, we have worked out an arrangement with Canadian universities to assist them to provide family units for married veterans. In such instances a financial grant is made to the university and the buildings are leased to the university at a nominal rental. To date, 529 units of married veteran students' shelter are being provided under this arrangement. Dominion government financial assistance under this heading totals $509,300. In all emergency shelter projects, arrangements are made for the municipality or for the university to provide management. We feel very strongly that the only satisfactory management for emergency shelter units is at the local level. Our financial grants are to assist municipalities and the universities to meet the capital cost of the erection or the conversion of emergency shelter. Rentals received are generally set high enough to look after operating expenses, and in virtually all instances the operating expenses and the administration are the responsibilities of the municipality or the university. The potential slum nature of some of these developments has been referred to on several occasions. I can give every assurance that these buildings will be removed when the emergency ceases and we will take every step to see that they are not allowed to deteriorate into slums areas. It now appears that it will be necessary to continue emergency shelter into 1947. There will still be a number of evictions, bringing very real hardship in their wake. We are receiving the full cooperation of municipalities, and emergency shelter is making an important contribution to relieve the cause of the greatest hardship. It is difficult for me at this time to estimate for hon. members the number of family units which will be created under the emergency shelter regulations during 1946. The actual number at the moment for which financial assistance has been given is 1,403, involving government commitments, for conversion only, of $950,300. Another 600 units have been created without financial assistance for conversion from the dominion through the provision of surplus buildings. I shall be surprised if the total number of emergency shelter units created during 1946 is not double the aggregate of the figures I have just mentioned. With materials so short, I am willing to see essential materials used in temporary emergency shelter only where the housing needs are abnormal and cannot be met by construction of permanent units. Then, too, emergency housing must provide the maximum of accommodation with the minimum use of materials. It can be argued that critical materials can be used more profitably in permanent construction; I agree, and every effort is being made to keep emergency units to a necessary minimum. On the other hand, it is not possible to meet all of the need with permanent construction and, to some extent at least, I anticipate a continuation of the emergency shelter programme until the housing shortage is largely relieved. I now wish to refer to the activities of Wartime Housing Limited, activities which are now directed by Central Mortgage and Housing corporation. Wartime Housing Limited has been responsible for constructing and managing a very large programme of low rental housing projects. Hon. members are well aware that during recent years there has been very little rental housing built by private owners and virtually no rental housing which could be described as being in the low-cost field. Wartime Housing Limited was incorporated in February, 1941, for the purpose of making available living accommodation for war workers in congested communities. During 1941, 1942 and 1943 an extensive programme was carried on, resulting in the construction of 17,218 war workers' houses, 97 staff houses, 30 schools and numerous other buildings. All this construction was part of our war plant and was as essential as the plants themselves. Virtually all of these war workers' houses are now playing an important part in providing accommodation in the low rental field. In 1944, the activities of Wartime Housing Limited were directed to providing rental housing for veterans. During that year some 1,287 units were built and rented to men who returned from overseas. In the summer of 1945 the need for additional rental housing for veterans became apparent, and in the latter half of 1945 a programme of some 6,500 units was undertaken. Owing to the late start, 6,200 of these units were carried over into 1946. This year we have continued the veterans' housing programme, and some 4,700 units have been approved for 1946 construction. Of the 1946 programme, some 4,000 units have been occupied and the remainder under construction have been coming into occupancy at a rate of 200 per week. Although construction schedules are dependent upon a restricted flow of materials, I believe that we can anticipate Wartime Housing units coming into occupancy at an even higher rate during the months of August and September. Our production schedules call for occupancy of about 1.200 units in each of these months. By the end of the year, all of the 1945 carry-over and Housing Act failing unforeseen obstacles, most of the 1946 units will be occupied. In short, during the year 1946, Wartime Housing will have produced something like 11,000 low rental housing units for veterans' occupancy. About two months ago I announced that we would consider applications from municipalities for Wartime Housing Limited units until June 1, at which time we intended to terminate the approval for projects for 1946 construction. The reasons for this announcement were that we are anxious to avoid the extra costs of winter construction. We feel that the programme of 1946 has taken as large a share of scarce building materials as is desirable. With the very great amount of private construction under way there is every likelihood that by October and November vigorous efforts will have to be made to find building materials to bring as many uncompleted units as possible to a state of occupancy. New Wartime Housing projects arranged late in the year would tend to interfere with any- efforts we may have to make to see that a maximum number of houses are completed for winter occupancy. Faced with the problem of providing living accommodation for veterans, many municipalities have turned to Wartime Housing Limited for low rental housing units. The problem was considered one of mutual responsibility, and towards that end a standard form of agreement has been developed. Under this agreement, the municipality supplies Wartime Housing Limited with fully improved lots at a cost of $1 each. It also enters into an agreement whereby Wartime Housing Limited will make payment during the life of the agreement in lieu of taxes of $24 per annum for each house erected with two bedrooms or less, and $30 a year on each house having three or more bedrooms, plus $1 per year per house for street lighting. On its part, Wartime Housing Limited enters into an agreement with the municipality providing that the houses will be rented to servicemen or their families for as long as there is a demand for rental houses by this type of citizen. Only after these families have been taken care of may the houses be rented to non-veterans. The rentals charged range from $22 to $30 per month, according to the size of the house. In view of the fact that the municipality supplies fully improved property at a nominal price and is prepared to accept in lieu of taxes the amounts I have just mentioned, Wartime Housing Limited agrees to sell the houses as a whole to the municipality for $1,000 each at the end of a stated period. The period is determined by the cost of construction. 63260-232i Wartime Housing Limited houses are constructed in accordance with national building code standards. The best materials available are employed! Houses are fully insulated for warmth in winter and the exclusion of heat in summer. Houses for veterans are placed on cement foundations. While they are considered to be semi-permanent, they are constructed to be as serviceable as any average frame house and should have a life of thirty to forty years. During the last few months there has been pressure from the municipalities, both in respect to war workers' houses and veterans'' houses, on the dominion government to make a payment additional to that which is now being made to the municipality in lieu of taxes. The dominion cannot and will not place itself in the position of being a taxpayer to a municipality. The payments in lieu of taxes were worked out and agreed upon between the municipalities and the dominion as being an amount which, in light of all circumstances, was reasonable. Any increase in revenue from Wartime Housing units to the municipality can only come from the tenants. The municipalities make the case that the payment in lieu of taxes does not look after their normal services, including schooling. As a result Wartime Housing units are, from their point of view, deficit housing. Although the dominion is unwilling to make additional payments in lieu of taxes, Wartime Housing Limited is prepared to renegotiate existing contracts with the municipalities. Such renegotiated contracts would provide that the dominion shall receive the same net rentals as at present-that is, gross rentals less payments to the municipalities in lieu of taxes. Wartime Housing Limited would, without taking responsibility for payment, be willing in its regular rental collections to collect for and on behalf of the municipalities taxes which the municipalities might consider appropriate to be levied against the tenants of these properties. It would be provided, however, that the levy established by the municipalities must not exceed the normal taxes charged on a similar type of housing bearing the full tax rate. For example, for a house rented at $30 a month under the present agreement, $2.50 a month is paid by Wartime Housing to the municipality in lieu of taxes. Wartime Housing are prepared to enter into a contract by which they will bill the tenant for a net rental of $27.50, and will be prepared in their collection procedure to bill as a separate item taxes which the municipality considers appropriate. It might be the case that the municipality would feel that it should be receiving twice- Housing Act



the amount which it is now receiving from the dominion in lieu of taxes. In this event the tenant's monthly bill would amount to a net rental of $27.50, and taxes for the municipality of $5, making a total of $32.50. Wartime Housing is willing to renegotiate existing contracts on application from the municipality. I would like to make it perfectly clear, however, that the dominion is not willing to make increased payments in lieu of taxes out of the net rentals now being received. As I mentioned earlier, the 1946 Wartime Housing Limited programme is now committed at some 4,700 units. It is not our intention to proceed with more of these units during the current year. Future operations of Wartime Housing Limited will be dependent upon the 1947 programme for housing and the extent to which it is deemed advisable for government directly to enter the field with low rental housing to be owned by them. It is also dependent upon the willingness of the municipalities to sponsor additional projects within their boundaries. Next I should like to turn to the small holdings provisions of the Veterans Land Act as it relates to housing units which are not rural in all their aspects. Hon. members will recall that the purpose of the small holdings provision is to provide a place in the country for veterans who have regular employment, the land to make contribution to the veteran's livelihood. In some instances the regular employment is in an urban area, and in others it is in a rural area adjacent to the small holding. With the very great shortage of housing there has been a tendency for the small holdings section of the Veterans Land Act to be used as a vehicle for supplying urban housing to veterans. Hon. members will recall that in the small holdings provision there is a conditional grant up to $1,400 for veterans who take advantage of it. The grant involves the veteran giving up his reestablishment credit, which for veterans as a whole averages somewhat less than $500. Earlier in this statement I made reference to an arrangement between myself and my colleague, the Minister of Veterans Affairs. Under this arrangement we agreed that it would be advisable for approval for new small holdings which were not- strictly rural in character to be cleared with the central operating group which has been established to look after all of the government's interests in housing. In our arrangement my colleague and I confirmed the policy of the government in that the director of the Veterans Land Act is generally not prepared to approve purchases under the small holdings provision within the boundaries of a municipality of over 5,000 people, and on the fringe areas of municipalities in excess of 15,000 people. The government is not prepared to extend this type of financing, involving a subsidy of some $1,000 over and above the veterans' reestablishment grant, into urban areas. We are very anxious to see the small holdings provision implemented to the full, provided it is implemented in the manner contemplated by parliament when the legislation was passed. My colleague and I have arrested a trend towards the small holdings section becoming a vehicle for financing veterans' urban housing. I have outlined the working rule in determining the areas where we do not consider small holdings appropriate. There have been and will be exceptions on both sides of this general rule. For instance, we will not agree to the approval of a small holding within the boundaries of a municipality of under 5,000 people if that community in itself forms part of a metropolitan area. On the other hand there are communities of over 5,000 people which are distant from other urban areas and located in the centre of a large agricultural area. We have been prepared in such instances to approve a small holding, particularly where the municipal boundaries of the community are very wide. Up to May 31 of this year, 17,359 ex-servicemen had qualified under the terms of the Veterans Land Act for small holdings. In the same period 4,885 land purchases were made by the director of the Veterans Land Act for small holdings. At the same date, 3,959 applications had been approved for small holdings. I will not explain further the workings of the Veterans Land Act, because, notwithstanding the arrangement with my colleague, the responsibility remains with him. Our main purpose in entering into this arrangement is to coordinate the activities of his department with other forms of housing. At this point I should like to refer to the National Housing Act, to which this resolution seeks certain amendments. The National Housing Act, as hon. members know, is designed primarily to finance and promote the construction of new housing, rather than to participate actively in the construction field as is the case of Wartime Housing Limited and the Veterans Land Act. I wish to deal rather fully with the activities under the various sections of the act, since the legislation introduced by this resolution will, I hope, allow a wider application of the terms of the act and permit Central Mortgage Homing Act and Housing Corporation to extend its facilities. As I come to them I will indicate the nature of the more important amendments we seek. I do not intend, however, to explain them in detail. I would prefer to discuss them more fully when I move the second reading and after hon. members have had an opportunity to study the bill. It might be said that the adequate financing provided for home owners by the National Housing Act at a time when mortgage money is plentiful does not result in one extra house being built. In some measure this may be true. However, the application of the act does have a very real influence on the types of houses being built, on who owns and occupies them, on the terms upon which they are purchased, on the quality of construction, and on the manner in which the mortgages are paid off by the owners. I can assure hon. members that the National Housing Act is being vigorously administered. Operating techniques are constantly being improved, red tape eliminated. Loan approvals by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation have been decentralized by the establishment of regional and branch offices throughout the country. Meetings are being held constantly with the lending institutions. Arrangements have been made for the handling of loan applications in' all parts of Canada-city, town, village and rural areas. Lending values have been increased by eight to ten per cent. Amendments have been made to the minimum standards and specifications. Loan approvals are being cleared at a much faster rate. The integrated housing plan is being pressed forward and has been extended to include duplexes. The National Housing Act is, in my opinion, a good piece of legislation which we seek by these amendments to improve and make more effective. Under the National Housing Act the government is in the business of lending money on long terns for the construction of houses. Loans are of three kinds: joint loans made through private lending institutions; direct advances to limited dividend corporations up to 90 per cent of the lending value of a low-rental project, and home extension loans. The first and most familiar of these is joint loans. Under part I of the act, loans are made jointly by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and approved lending institutions to prospective home owners or to builders of houses for sale to occupants. Indicative of both the tremendous demand for housing and the fact that the National Housing Act is filling a definite need are the following statistics covering loan approvals under part I by provinces during the first six months of 1946, with comparative figures for the same period last year: Part I January 1-June 30 Province Loans $ Prince Edward Island ... - Nova Scotia .. . 75 360.120New Brunswick ... 39 189,000Quebec ... 361 1.744,160Ontario ... 1,726 7.810.020Manitoba ... 522 2,536,000Saskatchewan ... 158 693,880Alberta ... 425 1.924,660British Columbia ... 623 2.595,680Total ... 3,929 17,853,520 1945 Province Loans $Prince Edward Island ... - -Nova Scotia .. . 17 79.940New Brunswick .. . 5 20,280Quebec . . . 200 1.026,200Ontario ... 1.400 5.937,425Manitoba ... 331 1,385.660Saskatchewan . .. 41 180,600Alberta ... 116 521.000British Columbia ... 307 1.187,180Total 2,417 10,338,285 It will be remembered that maximum loans to home-owners are based upon 90 per cent of the first $4,000 and 70 per cent of additional lending value. By regulation loans may not exceed S6.40O because we are unwilling to lend any encouragement to large houses when the emphasis should be on small homes. Present-day costs and sales prices present real difficulty. The $4,000 house of 1939 costs at least $6,000 and is often priced far above this figure. This has borne heavily upon the married veteran who, with so little rental housing available, has been forced to buy. He is faced with a larger down payment and larger monthly payments than he had anticipated. Three steps could be taken to help meet this problem: First, increase lending values to the current level of building costs which is of the order of 150 per cent of the 1939 level, with variations in different parts of the country. This has been done by the corporation increasing lending values by an additional 8 per cent-10 per cent as from April 29, 1946, so as to bring lending values into line with cost levels. We believe that present lending values are very close to the actual cost of building plus a fair builder's profit, but do not make allowance for extra costs such as delays in delivery of materials, inefficient labour and the very long profit being taken by some builders. We are unwilling to make loans Housing Act



on extra costs of this kind. Although there have been some minor increases in material and labour costs since April 29, I believe that our level of lending values is as 'high as is prudent at the moment. Second, lengthen the period of amortization to reduce the monthly payments of principal and interest. This is being proposed in the amendments introduced by this resolution. We seek to give the corporation authority to extend the period of amortization from twenty to twenty-five years. This will have the effect of reducing the monthly principal and interest payments by 12-2 per cent on a loan of like amount. Here is an example of the increased lending value and the longer amortization period: A house with a lending value prior to April 29 of $4,550, a maximum loan of 33,980 and monthly payments of $25.03 for principal and interest would, under the change to which I have referred and the revision proposed, have a lending value of $5,000, a maximum loan of $4,300 and monthly payments on principal and interest of $23.80, a reduction even on the increased dollar amount of loan. I will deal with this amendment more fully when moving the second reading of the biil. Third, we have considered, and are not prepared to recommend, increasing the ratio of loan so that 90 per cent loans can be made on lending values up to $5,000 instead of $4,000 as at present. This would have the *effect of an additional loan of $100 on lending values of $4,500 and a maximum increase of $200 on lending values of $5,000 and over. A strong case can be made for such a change. It would help bridge the very large down payment generally required to-day. The increase in amortization period offsets increased monthly payments. In urban areas the $5,000 house is the cheapest that can be bought in to-day's market. The 90 per cent loan provision originally contemplated this type of borrower and house, if not the price. As against these arguments we feel that loans are already very high. The home owner should invest the present difference between lending value and loan even if he purchases at a price in excess of the lending value. We think that already the increase in loans approved since April 29 has had the effect of increasing sale prices. A further increase by this device is likely to cause a further increase in sale price, which if carried to its logical conclusion would result in the same down payment by the borrower and a larger debt by the amount of such increase. I should like to mention one other phase of the problem of the high level of loans. In 1939 it was thought that the ratio of income {Mr. Howe.] of the home owner to debt service-that is, payments on principal, interest and taxes- should not exceed about 22 per cent. To-day 26 per cent to 28 per cent is more the range with some loans or sales to home-owners approved at 30 per cent. The dangers of this level of ratio of debt service to income are very evident but in light of to-day's conditions this increase is necessary. The longer amortization term will tend to decrease these ratios. It is however another reason why it is not desirable to increase the lending value upon which 90 per cent loans may be approved. The case for sound home financing of a long-term nature makes it inadvisable to accede to the arguments for a change in the ratio of loans made but to continue with our present practice. Part II of the act provides for joint loans for rental projects, such as apartments and duplexes, on much the same terms as under part I, and a maximum loan of 80 per cent. The table which follows shows the number of units involved in loans approved under part II of the act by provinces for the first six months of 1946, together with comparative figures for the same period in 1945: Part II January 1-June 30 Province Prince Edward Island Units $Nova Scotia . 14 56,000New Brunswick . . . . -Quebec . 279 1,030,800Ontario . 229 1,351,900Manitoba . 17 58,200Saskatchewan -Alberta . 38 140,000British Columbia . . 171 625,900Total .. 748 3,262,800Province Prince Edward Island 1945 Units $ Nova Scotia -New Brunswick . . . -Quebec Ontario .. 105 398,400.. 124 366,660Manitoba .. 11 61,600Saskatchewan -Alberta -British Columbia . . .. 36 124,400Total .. 276 951,060These figures are not impressive . Theyreflect the small amount of rental housingbeing built. The number of units in this category is so small that we are attempting to make good some of the deficiency through Wartime Housing Limited and Housing Enterprises of Canada, Limited. Among the reasons for the dearth of rental housing are the substantial profits on residences being built for sale and the builder's un- Housing Act certainty over being able to obtain large quantities of materials for this type of construction. Units approved under parts I and II of the act during the first six months of the calendar year 1946 totalled 4,667 with loans amounting to $21,116,320. This compares with 2,693 units in the same period last year amounting to $11,289,345.


CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Under which part?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Under parts I and II.

Before we leave the subject of joint loans, I wish to discuss for a moment a few other points. The first of these is loan coverage. Since the inception of the National Housing Act, loans have been readily available in every city throughout Canada and in most of the larger towns. Until recently, however, some difficulty has been experienced with applications from residents of small towns and villages, especially those in outlying areas. In view of the desirability of making National Housing Act loans available on a national basis, and as a result of negotiations between Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the lending institutions, an arrangement has been made for the handling of applications in all parts of the country. The arrangement is working extremely well, and I am pleased to report that we no longer receive complaints from individuals whose applications cannot be serviced. I would also like to express the appreciation of the government to the eight or ten lending institutions which have taken on this important responsibility.

In the past there has been some difficulty over the lack of authority under the National Housing Act to make loans on leasehold land. This has been particularly true in national park areas, such as Banff and Jasper. The Department of Mines and Resources, quite properly, is unwilling to transfer in fee simple title to lands within national parks. We therefore seek an amendment to the act to authorize the corporation to make National Housing Act loans, under certain terms and conditions, for the construction of houses on land under leasehold.

My third point deals with cooperative housing developments. Under part I of the act, joint loans are available to cooperative housing groups formed for the purpose of building houses or apartments for occupancy by members of the groups. Under certain circumstances, loans for cooperative rental housing projects may also be made under part II (section 8), provided that the cooperative is already formed and has interests other than housing.

Applications are being received from cooperative groups for loans at 3 per cent for periods up to fifty years under section 9 of the act. This section provides for loans to limited-dividend companies for low rental housing projects.

Generally these applications are from groups of individuals being formed into a cooperative to build houses for their own occupancy with the equity being supplied by themselves. The form of the arrangement involves a lease to the member of the cooperative but in most respects the position of the member is that of a home-owner. These applications have been declined because section 9 was not designed for this purpose, its conditions cannot be fulfilled under such circumstances, it was never intended that the tenants of a low rental limited-dividend project should be its owners and the position of the tenant with respect to both his equity and continued occupancy is unsatisfactory.

An individual going into such an arrangement has no security of tenure because under the terms of section 9 he cannot continue to lease a unit in the low rental project if his income exceeds five times his rental. This condition exists to assure the low rental character of the project. Even if the tenant's rental-being paid in lieu of principal, interest and taxes-is current, he has no protection against foreclosure with loss of equity and tenancy if the project as a whole goes into default which might be occasioned by default of 5 per cent or 10 per cent of the tenants. In most of the applications we have received there is no indication of any reasonable measure of protection on this score. Nor are there funds other than the tenants' equity to assure completion of the project in a period of rising costs.

The position of the tenant when the loan on the project is repaid is not happy. Under the section he, as part owner of a limited-dividend company, or having an interest in it through a cooperative, may not receive more than his equity with 5 per cent interest. If the residual value of his house was greater than this amount he would have to make a corresponding payment to retain possession. If it was decided to sell the property as a whole the position would be even more difficult. To avoid this trouble it has been suggested that at this time we should provide that the units revert to the tenants at the end of the amortization period. This is not feasible in light of the intent of the act.

There are other reasons why we should not approve such applications. They, like the ones I have outlined, all add up to one

Housing Act

conclusion. Section 9 was not designed for home-owners. Nor was section 9, with long term money at 3 per cent, designed as a substitute for part I of the act which provides loans to home-owners at 4J per cent for a term generally twenty years but under some circumstances up to thirty years. If we provide cooperative home-owners with 3 per cent money, our position becomes difficult with other home-owners.

Our position is very clear. We will not approve applications for loans under section 9 to limited-dividend companies where the prospective tenants directly or indirectly are financing the equity of the project nor where factors exist which are not compatible to a limited-dividend rental project as defined by the act. On the other hand we are ready to approve such applications under appropriate sections of the act, such as section 4 (3) which makes provision for loans to persons incorporated for the purpose of instructing and managing a cooperative housing project.

I would now like to deal with direct loans made by the corporation to limited-dividend companies. Section 9 of the National Housing Act authorizes advances by the corporation up to 90 per cent of the lending value of a low-rental housing project. The term of amortization may be extended to fifty years, and the interest rate is 3 per cent. Three of these loans have been approved, and another ten of them are under discussion.

The rapid advance in the costs of construction has made it increasingly difficult for applicants under this section to meet low rental housing requirements since rents are set up on an economic rental basis. Present conditions, therefore, are not conducive to a large volume of loans to limited-dividend companies if economic rentals are to be obtained. While there is provision for the provinces, municipalities, social agencies, trusts or persons to contribute to a rent reduction fund, this government, as a matter of policy, is not prepared to introduce subsidies either in the form of a grant towards capital cost or subsequent contributions to a rent reduction fund.

All applications from limited-dividend companies are carefully examined by the corporation, and although I do not anticipate a large volume of this type of loan during the next year, I do feel that some loans will be made. Certainly we are anxious to have this type of construction undertaken and the corporation is making every effort to approve applications within the principles laid down in this section of the act. In addition I expect

that in the future many loans of this type will be made upon land made available through the slum clearance provision of the act.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

Has the minister any figures on these sections with which he has been dealing for the last three minutes?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

No. I am simply explaining the principles. There has been very little construction.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Where were these lowdividend projects?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Chiefly in pulp and paper towns.

Next I would like to deal with the activities of Housing Enterprises of Canada, Limited. Hon. members will remember that at the last session of the house amendments were made to sections 9 and 11 of the National Housing Act whereby an institutional holding company could proceed with rental housing. Shortly after these amendments were passed, all life insurance companies operating in Canada joined together and formed a mutual institutional holding company in the name of Housing Enterprises of Canada, Limited. Housing Enterprises contemplated a two-year programme of about 10,000 units and planned to distribute the much-needed rental housing throughout the urban communities from coast to coast. The financial arrangement is that loans are made to Housing Enterprises under section 9, as I have previously described, and the 10 per cent equity of Housing Enterprises comes under the provision of section 11 of this act.

When this proposal was discussed with the life insurance companies in July, 1945, it was contemplated that rental housing units providing two and three bedroom accommodation could be produced for shelter rents of about $35 and $40. Since then there have been increases in cost and at present it would appear that the rental level for most projects will be of the order of $39 to $45 for the two and three bedroom units. This is a low economic rental in light of to-day's costs but it is not the low rental contemplated when Housing Enterprises was formed.

In view of the substantially increased costs as well as a shortage of building materials, the 1946 programme of Housing Enterprises will be limited to some 3,400 units. Of these 1,945, comprising seventeen projects, have been approved by the corporation and are under way or will be under way this week. Tenders have been or are being called on seven other projects involving some 739 units, and the 700-odd units forming the balance of the pro-

Housing Act

gramme are being developed by Housing Enterprises as fast as possible. We anticipate that by August 1 work will be under way on virtually the whole 1946 programme.

The following is a list of projects by localities being undertaken by Housing Enterprises, together with an indication of their status, at July 15.

If I may I will have this table put on Hansard.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GREEN:

Do these projects get priority for supplies?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Yes.

Project Location No. of Units

Vancouver-A 1 136

Vancouver-B 213

Victoria 100

New Westminster 112

Regina 101

Saskatoon 50

Calgary 104

Edmonton 100

Stratford 108

Chatham 145

Windsor 113

St. Thomas 65

Sarnia 59

London-A 182

London-B 43

Hamilton 116

St. Catharines 102

Kitchener 114

Brantford 50

Owen Sound 63

Guelph 61

Waterloo 50

Toronto-A 32

Toronto-B 72

Peterborough 128

Kingston 84

Brockville 50

Lindsay 50

Montreal-A 150

Montreal-B 384

Quebec 100

Three Rivers 50

Saint John 106

Charlottetown 50

Total 3,443

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

I believe it should be pointed out that the minister must get consent to place these tables on Hansard.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

After all, I am moving a resolution.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. Golding):

I was going to permit the minister to finish his remarks, and then ask that he be granted permission to have these tables placed on Hansard.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

Agreed.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

The table is as follows:

Type Status

Row Construction under way.

Multiple Tenders called.

Single Negotiating project. Multiple Negotiating project.

Single Tenders called.Single Tenders called.

Single Negotiating project. Multiple Negotiating project.

Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Tenders called.Single Tenders called.

Multiple Negotiating project.

Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Construction just starting. Single Construction just starting.

- Negotiations only.

Multiple Construction under way. Multiple Construction under way. Single Construction under way. Single Tenders called.

Single Tenders called.

- Negotiations only.

Multiple Construction under way. Multiple Construction just starting.

- Negotiations only.

-. Negotiations only.

Single Construction under w'ay.

- Negotiations only.

We are in great need of rental housing units. I have already mentioned the tendency towards the building of residential units for sale. Housing Enterprises and Wartime Housing are making the major contribution towards a new supply of rental housing units. I would like to express my appreciation, as well as that of the government, for the cooperation of the life insurance companies in entering into the rental housing field at this time when conditions are so difficult.

The resolution being introduced to-day seeks to introduce a new section dealing with loans to provide housing to primary producers in 63260-233

outlying districts, such as mining and lumbering companies. During the last year such companies have had great trouble in attracting labour. As a result production has suffered.

The day of the bunk house is over, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that if stable and permanent employment is to be provided in mining and lumbering camps, it is essential to employ a fairly large proportion of married men. Married men can be attracted only if housing is available for themselves and their families. Many instances have been brought to our attention where married men working in the mining and lumbering industries have

Housing Act

left their families in urban areas. If such men were able to move their families to their place of employment, it would relieve a certain amount of urban congestion. I will not discuss in detail the proposed amendment at this time except to say that we hope to introduce an efficient, expeditious and inexpensive method of providing much-needed family housing units in outlying areas involved in the production of primary materials.

Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation has taken over the administration of the National Housing Act in full, except for grants for slum clearance. In this instance, the corporation advises the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply but the grant itself is made by the minister, with the approval of the governor in council.

Slum clearance, however, is considered to be inopportune at the present time. The requirement for shelter is so great that the government cannot afford to permit the destruction of livable shelter of any kind. Slum clearance will come later when the pressing need for the occupation of every housing unit is lessened.

Part III of the National Housing Act, which provides for farm housing, has never been very successful. We believe that there are very serious deficiencies in the existing legislation. The resolution before the house to-day introduces an amendment which we feel will allow the corporation vigorously to promote the development of farm housing and to provide adequate financing facilities for this type of housing. I will make a fuller statement upon this amendment at the time of the second reading.

Hon. members will remember that part IV of the National Housing Act is a reenactment of the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act of 1937. At the last session of the house an amendment was passed making it possible to proclaim that portion of this part which deals with home extension loans, and to leave unproclaimed the portion which deals with home improvement loans. It was thought inadvisable at this time to use materials in short supply for the purpose of improving homes. On the other hand, we are anxious to promote the conversion of large units into an increased number of family housing units.

This portion of the act was proclaimed in April, 1946, and seven loans have been approved to date. I would remind hon. members that under the Home Improvement Loans Guarantee Act of 1937, some $50 million was loaned. However, only fifty-eight home extension loans, involving $192,000, were approved. The balance was on account of home improvement loans. It is not likely

that the present home extension provisions of the National Housing Act will result in an impressive number of loans being approved, if for no other reason than the lack of houses suitable for the purpose. Many such houses have already been converted under the home conversion plan.

Under part V of the National Housing Act, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation is empowered to carry on studies and investigations into housing conditions in Canada and to conduct technical research leading to improved living accommodation.

Research undertaken by the corporation along these lines since it was organized, at a cost of approximately S50,000, may be summarized as follows:

1. Financing the dominion bureau of statistics' studies on the number of dwelling units constructed in 1945 and being built in 1946.

2. Financing an investigation and report by the dominion bureau of statistics on overcrowding and multiple occupancy of dwelling units in Canada.

3. The corporation has also made arrangements with the dominion bureau of statistics to obtain comprehensive information respecting housing conditions in the prairie provinces when the 1946 census is taken in that area.

4. Jointly with the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto, financing an investigation and study by the university of Toronto into housing conditions in Toronto and a report of the estimated housing requirements in that city.

5. Assisting the architectural research group of Ottawa in study of a town planning proposal for a certain area in Ottawa and the preparation of an illustrated display of the proposal.

6. Investigation of construction costs in large-scale developments. ,

7. Studies of housing policies and plans in other countries.

8. A study of residential construction trends and the supply of building materials.

9. An investigation into site taxation methods and their significance in community development.

10. The operating records of Central Mortgage and Housing corporation provide information on housing conditions, incomes, construction costs and other data relating to new projects financed under the National Housing Act. To permit a proper appraisal of housing trends, the records of the corporation's lending operations are being set up on a machine basis of tabulation. It is intended to prepare monthly summary reports highlighting housing statistics indicating current trends.

Housing Act

11. Beginning on June 1, some exploratory work was started on research into housing finance as provided for in section 27 of the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act.

In its administration of the National Housing Act, Central Mortgage and Housing corporation has established a research division to study land utilization and community planning. Provincial planning authorities have been consulted looking to the implementation of community plans. A research programme has been started with a view to obtaining economic, sociological and physical factual information pertaining to community planning. Through the facilities of the dominion bureau of statistics the corporation expects to gather factual data from the 1946 quinquennial prairie census sufficient to permit a complete study and analysis of existing community conditions. It is believed that from such studies, wfith the cooperation of both provincial and municipal planning authorities, it will be possible to establish basic community planning standards.

It is intended that this factual information, and studies based upon it, will be made available to all interested provincial and municipal authorities, either for public education or community planning use. The corporation also proposes to make public its findings.

Other research projects are to be undertaken in connection with regional planning and land subdivision. Advice is now being made available to subdividers. Methods are also being indicated whereby savings in service costs may be obtained without losing sight of the functional aspects of the subdivision which are so important to better social conditions.

In this connection I might add that on June 25 and 26 a community planning conference was called in Ottawa. Representatives of the provinces and of other interested groups were present and discussed mutual problems. At the conclusion of the meeting an organization to be known as the community planning association of Canada was formed. The object of the association will be to foster public understanding of and participation in community planning in Canada.

I now come to two specialized activities under the National Housing Act. The first of these is the home conversion plan which was established by a series of orders in council beginning with P.C. 2641 of April 1, 1943, under which authority was given to the government to lease buildings in certain cities, to convert them into multiple housing units and to sublet them to suitable tenants for the relief of the housing shortage.

63260-233J

Conversions completed at July 11, 1946, totalled 258, providing 2,097 housing units. Houses in the process of being converted on that date were two, providing eleven housing units.

The cities in which the plan is now operating are Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Femie, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Brantford, Galt, London, Windsor, Kingston, Montreal, Quebec and Hull.

It is not our intention to press further development at this time owing to the lack of suitable houses for conversion, as well as the shortage of materials and the very high costs involved. The term of the lease during which the crown recovered its costs was established at a time when costs were much lower. Were conversions to go forward at this time under present conditions, the length of the lease enabling the crown to recover moneys advanced would be too long, making the plan unsatisfactory not only to the crown, but to the owners of such houses.

The resolution proposes to put into statutory form the powers which were used for this plan under order in council. A small appropriation is included in the estimates for any new projects which seem suitable. The corporation requires the powers in statutory form not only to go forward with any occasional suitable unit, but also to continue to operate the existing converted units.

The second of these activities is the integrated housing plan which is a specialized application of part I of the act.

Its purpose is to promote the building of houses for sale, preference being reserved for veterans of world war II and their dependents.

By order in council we recently extended the terms of the integrated housing plan to duplexes which are defined as houses containing two family units, built one above the other, with separate entrances.

It is now proposed to bring the provisions of the plan, which is presently being administered under the Emergency Transitional Powers Act, under the National Housing Act, with a view to empowering the corporation to enter into contracts with builders.

The main features of the plan are:

1. A pre-determined maximum sales price.

2. Priority for materials under priorities order No. P.O. 11.

3. A government guarantee to purchase in the event of non-sale.

4. Sales preference to veterans.

As at July 5, of this year, thirty-five integrated housing plan projects, involving the

Housing Act

construction of some 2,135 units had beenapproved. Of these, work has started ontwenty-one projects of 1,680 units. Projects approved by cities as at July 5,1946, are as follows: No. No. Units in projects with workCity projects units started Fort William 2 135 135Galt ,1 20 20Hamilton 2 334 334Hespeler 1 25 -Kitchener 1 25 25London 2 251 251Montreal 2 110 100Oshawa 5 99 74Port Arthur 1 84 84St. Boniface 1 61 -Sarnia 1 100 100Saskatoon 1 50 50Swift Current 1 23 -Toronto 5 231 137Val d'Or 1 50 -Weston 1 45 -Winnipeg 6 442 370Vancouver 1 50 -35 2,135 1,680

This, Mr. Speaker, has been a summary of stewardship by this government of its activities in the housing field. The statement has been longer than is usual when moving a resolution, but I know that it is a subject of great interest and will, I am sure, occasion some remarks by my hon. friends on the other side of the house. In fact, there has been a considerable measure of criticism directed at the government because of the acute housing shortage. My statement to-day reveals, I think, that the record of the dominion government in the housing field is not inconsiderable. Let me review briefly a few points:

46,900 dwelling units provided in 1945; target for the year ending March 31, 1947, 60,000; for the twelve months ending March 31, 1948, at least 80,000 units.

Consolidation of all federal housing activities in Central Mortgage and Housing corporation which, in turn, reports to the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply.

Streamlining of lending operations under the National Housing Act, both to individual borrowers and to limited-dividend corporations, resulting in a substantially increased number of loan approvals.

An eight to ten per cent increase in lending values making a present level of about 150 per cent of 1939 levels.

Arrangements for making National Housing Act loans available on a national basis by seeing that all municipalities in Canada are now covered.

Proclamation of part IV of the Act with respect to home extension loans.

Revision and extension of the integrated housing plan.

Extension of housing research and community planning operations.

Introduction of a new priorities rating system giving preference to low-cost government-sponsored housing for veterans.

Extension of the period during which the double depreciation method of financially assisting Canadian industries applies.

Expansion, where possible and practicable, of manufacturing facilities for building materials.

Extension of operations under the emergency shelter regulations.

A stepped-up post-war construction programme by Wartime Housing Limited.

Expanded operations under the Veterans Land Act.

I commend this record of accomplishment to the attention of hon. members.

In the light of my remarks on the record of this government to date in the housing field, I would now like to take a moment or two, Mr. Speaker, to consider what the immediate future holds in store.

That a deficit of housing will confront us for some time to come is virtually certain. At the same time, I can assure hon. members that no effort will be spared by my department and by the government as a whole to meet the deficit, to relieve a critical situation.

The production of materials will be increased by every possible measure in order to assure the construction of a maximum number of houses this year. Failing major upsets, we shall see the completion of at least

50.000 units in the year ending March 31, 1947. Our target-which will be limited only by the flow of materials and supplies-is for 60,000. This will be accomplished in spite of increased industrial and commercial construction. Our aim for the year following-the twelve months ending March 31, 1948-is

80.000 units.

The legislative and administrative steps which I have outlined to-day give clear indication of a positive and integrated housing policy. This policy is designed primarily to see to the immediate shelter problem, but it does not neglect the long-term implications of the need of raising the standard of housing for people in this country. In conclusion, I would like to sum up the main principles underlying our aims and objects.

Housing Act

(1) High, priority. Adequate housing for the Canadian people is one of the imajor tasks before us. The utmost effort will be directed towards meeting this need, and the resources of the country will be used to this end.

(2) Private and public housing. It is the policy to ensure that as large a portion as possible of housing be built by private initiative. The dominion government will lend every facility to private enterprise to build as many houses as are needed. Where private building is impeded by the lack of funds, we have made and will continue to make financial assistance available both in urban and rural' housing. Where private housing construction is delayed through shortages of material or lack of trained labour, we have taken and will continue to take steps to improve both the material and labour supply. If, however, with all the assistance we can provide for financing, materials and labour supply, the houses required to substantially improve the housing standard of the Canadian people are not forthcoming, then the dominion government will take a direct position in the housing field.

Already we are engaged in such measures as veterans' housing projects under Wartime Housing Limited, the small holdings provision of the Veterans Land Act, and Housing Enterprises with the assistance of the life insurance companies. We are in these endeavours because in each instance housing of this type would not otherwise be forthcoming. We would be very happy to withdraw, but there seems no immediate prospect -of bousing of this type being produced by other means. I hope that the dominion government's direct participation in the housing field will reduce rather than increase, but we are determined to see that an adequate number of homes are built in Canada in the future.

(3) Housing standards. We believe that houses should be constructed soundly and be of a high standard so as to provide comfort to the people of this country commensurate with the high standard of living at which we are aiming. This will involve new houses for families with low incomes who cannot afford to pay economic rentals. The dominion government has made and will continue to make adequate provisions to make the financing of low and moderate rental housing projects possible. But subsidies to create uneconomic rentals are, in my opinion, a matter for provincial and municipal concern.

The dominion government has, on the occasion of the dominion-provincial conference on reconstruction, invited these governments to consider such aspects as rent reduction funds, land acquisition and local taxes. While no

proposals have been submitted in this respect to the dominion government, we will continue to strive for provincial and municipal cooperation in attaining the goal of bringing rental levels down within the capacity to pay of . families in the low income group. Other measures to raise the standard of housing will be slum clearance projects and the insistence upon minimum housing standards to which each house built with federal assistance has to comply.

(4>

Increased efficiency. Much of the success of the housing programme depends on the efficiency of the house-building industiy, both management and labour, to reduce costs and tap markets hitherto untouched. Already we have taken steps to increase efficiency in the housing field. Our efforts have ranged from large scale housing projects to building material research and the stepped-up training of building labour. We will continue to pursue all possible avenues of endeavour which in our opinion will help to reduce the cost of housing to the consumer, while still leaving adequate remuneration to the builder and the construction worker for their efforts. This will require continued research and technical investigations in the field of housing activities. Part V of the act recognizes this need, and we propose to implement this section to the fullest extent of scientific and technical facilities available. Already a start has been made. But we can only encourage increase in efficiency. Industry alone, both management and labour, can achieve it.

(5) Community planning. Finally, we believe that

the success of our housing programme is closely tied to an orderly and well integrated growth and development of our cities, towns and villages. With the help of provincial and muni*pal governments, professional and other organizations, we are embarking upon a programme of furthering community planning through financial assistance, research and education.

These broad principles will, we believe, take care of the housing needs of this country, not only in respect to the immediate emergency period ahead of us, but also, with appropriate adjustments in light of experience, in respect of our long-term requirements. Our housing problem is a major task and requires constructive cooperation from everybody in Canada. There is no royal road to a speedy solution. The road ahead is uneven with improvement in sight, but with many problems still requiring an answer. With a continuation of the cooperation we are now receiving from financial institutions, management and labour in the construction industry as well as from the industries supplying building mate-

Housing Act

rials, we will be alble to achieve our aim. We must first overcome the immediate emergency task of providing shelter for everyone in the country. We must then make rapid progress towards our long-term target of improving the standards of housing and living for Canadians.

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
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LIB

William Henry Golding

Liberal

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr. Golding):

During the minister's introduction of his resolution he referred to certain tables which he would like to have placed on the record for the benefit of the members. Has the minister unanimous consent?

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Agreed.

Mr. DONALD M. FLEMING (Eglinton): Mr. Speaker, it would be premature to attempt at this stage to comment on the features of the legislation proposed to be introduced b3r the minister in the light of the wording of the resolution before the house, but I think it is appropriate to make some passing observations on the lengthy statement which the minister has made.

I am sure that the house is glad that the minister has seen fit to make this statement. I point out that the last occasion on which the house was afforded anything approaching a comprehensive statement from the government on the housing situation in Canada was on March 20 last, when the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Howe) spoke in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne. This is July 22. Four months and two days have passed since the last statement from the government that could be said to approach a comprehensive statement on the housing situation.

When we speak of housing conditions in Canada we are speaking of the problem which is beyond question the most critical internal problem that we face in Canada to-day. I want to say with all the emphasis at my command that it is the duty of this house to keep itself fully informed on housing conditions in Canada, to keep its finger on the pulse of that great problem. It is not good [DOT]enough to have statements from the government at four-months' intervals while the house is in session.

I have suggested before-I hope I am not tiring the house in referring to it again-that the housing situation in Canada is and will be for a long time to come so serious, so critical that there ought to be within the framework of the machinery of this house some continuing body which can apply its intelligence to the problem and receive information on a current basis. There is nothing revolutionary in that suggestion. I

[Mr. Howe.)

think it is a suggestion that the government ought to welcome. But the government does not act upon it. Would it not be of immense value to the house and to the country if there were a committee of this house which could obtain statements as it requires them, not at long intervals but from week to week or month to month, as occasion arises, and examine the officials of the various government corporations which are now charged with administrative responsibility in respect of housing, namely Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Wartime Housing Limited. Members of the house have never had under the present set-up an opportunity of examining those officials and obtaining firsthand information from them. I think that is a distinct lack in the present framework of the machinery of this house.

The measure which the minister proposes under this legislation to introduce is the first housing legislation submitted by the government at the present session. It is well that there should be some new housing legislation, if this is to be the only opportunity afforded the house of discussing in a specific way housing conditions in Canada, because it just does not give members an opportunity to come to grips with the housing situation and have a specific debate on this problem to touch on it in such general debates as the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne or the debate on the budget. This resolution and the bill which will be introduced following the adoption of the resolution afford the first opportunity given to the house this year for a specific, direcf debate on housing conditions in Canada.

I shall not attempt at this stage to deal with the features of the legislation proposed. There will be a better opportunity when the bill has been before us and has been scrutinized.

One had hoped that the review from the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply to-day might give encouragement to believe that the worst is over as regards housing conditions in Canada. The picture painted for us of those conditions by the minister is neither heartening nor encouraging. It is true that some features of the report which the minister has given the house are reasonably bright. Some parts of the report which he gave with reference to the production of certain building material the house will receive, I am sure, with welcome. But the over-all picture that is presented by the minister to-day as regards current housing conditions and the outlook for improvement over the next year and a half is not bright; on the contrary, it is discouraging.

Housing Act

What is the picture which the minister has presented to us? In the first place, he says there is at the moment a deficit of 150,000 housing units. That is measured in terms of the housing emergency, not in terms of the over-all need to improve housing conditions in Canada, or to eliminate substandard houses and slums, but is simply the immediate emergency need to-day-150,000 housing units. What is the outlook for the future?

The outlook is this, that by the 31st of March of next year, namely by the spring of 1947, not only will that condition not have improved but it will actually be worse; the deficit in respect of emergency needs of housing will by that date have increased to 180,000 housing units. The situation by the spring of next year will be, we are told, twenty per cent worse than it is to-day. Then, what of 1947 after the spring of that year? The government's objective is to be 80,000 housing units for the year which will commence April 1, 1947, and end March 31, 1948. It means this, that so far from catching up with that further deficit of 30,000 housing units and keeping abreast of the situation as it develops during the summer of 1947, we cannot expect, in the light of present government housing policies, any over-all improvement in the situation in comparison with it as we know it to-day, July 1946, until, probably, the end of 1947.

That, I say, is a very dark picture. The people of this country so far as housing conditions are concerned have borne a great many disappointments; they have suffered many hardships, and they had hoped for something better than this at the hands of the government. We see the government always ready to accept credit for any Canadian accomplishment, any construction of houses. The government must equally accept responsibility for failure.

The report we have heard to-day will deal a hard blow at the hopes of many thousands of Canadians living under conditions of hardship and squalor. If the picture is dark, if the best the government can do gives but a dark outlook for housing conditions, it is much better that the people of Canada should know it, that we should have a frank exposition from the government so that the people will not be permitted to go on conjuring up hopes which would only be dashed next winter.

But, having said that one commends frankness, one does not at all excuse the government for the darkness of the picture. While one approves frankness, one would like some evidence of that quality among members of the government who undertake to deal with housing conditions. The house has heard what the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply has

had to say about housing conditions, and his candid admission that they are going to be worse before they are better. I turn by way of contrast to a speech made by the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) in Brandon on January 24, 1946. It bears the title "Aftermath."

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

The incurable optimist!

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

This speech-and I take it that the copy I have received is authentic, since it came, I believe, from the department presided over by the Minister of Veterans Affairs-contains these two interesting paragraphs :

There seems to be a belief in some minds that housing is a problem peculiar to Canada alone, and one which could have been averted. It is a problem common to all nations to-day who unstintingly contributed their production to the sacred cause of Victory.

There is discomfort, even hardship, at the moment, but through emergency measures by all levels of government, through energetic action by industry, and above all, through the warmhearted hospitality of the people of Canada, we can truthfully say that in this country at least the worst is past.

In the light of the statements made in the house to-day by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply-to paraphrase this language, no one can truthfully say that in this country at least the worst is past-

Topic:   NATIONAL HOUSING ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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July 22, 1946