July 22, 1946 (20th Parliament, 2nd Session)

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
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT AS TO LOAN PROVISIONS-CENTRAL MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
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