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  • Writer's pictureSean Smith

Is 'wartime' housing a solution to Canada's crisis?

Politicians of all stripes from all levels of government seem to agree that the lengthy approval process for building permits is a significant issue. The federal government is considering reviving a housing plan from the early 1940s to cut down on red tape, aiming to unclog the pipeline at every step.


This plan involves a pre-approved catalog of designs for various residential properties. However, zoning laws and the actual translation of development application approvals into completed homes pose significant challenges. The incentives to build right now are limited, and the feasibility of this plan remains to be seen.


A consultation process on the whole thing starts next month, with expectations that any new design will be ready to be built in almost a year.



TLDR

Politicians and government are acknowledging the lengthy approval process for building houses in Canada, leading to a housing crisis. The federal government proposes reviving a wartime housing plan to accelerate the building process. However, challenges such as zoning laws, building regulations, financial viability, and labor shortages may hinder the effectiveness of the proposed solution.


 

KEY INSIGHTS

  • Approval to start building a house in Canada takes 1.5 to 3 years on average in major cities.

  • The federal government aims to revive a wartime housing plan to expedite the process.

  • Challenges include zoning laws, building regulations, financial viability, and labor shortages.


 

What challenges does the federal government hope to address with the revival of the wartime housing plan?


The Housing Approval Process in Canada

Building a house in Canada involves a lengthy approval process, including local zoning rules and building permits. This process, which can take up to three years, is a significant hurdle in addressing the housing crisis.


Reviving the Wartime Housing Plan

The federal government aims to cut down red tape by reviving the wartime housing plan, which was successful in the 1940s. The plan involves pre-approved catalog of designs to expedite the approval process for building homes at scale.


00:00:00 - The federal government aims to address the lengthy approval process and the need for faster construction of homes, particularly in major cities, by reviving the wartime housing plan.


What are some of the barriers and regulations that may still pose challenges to the implementation of the wartime housing plan?


Challenges in Zoning Laws

Zoning laws and regulations present significant challenges in building new housing, as they dictate what can be built and where. Changes to zoning laws and public consultations are required for larger projects, adding to the time and costs involved.


00:03:56 - Zoning laws, public consultations, and bylaws changes are some of the barriers and regulations that may impact the implementation of the wartime housing plan.


How does the labor shortage in the construction industry impact the completion of housing projects?


Moving from Approval to Action

Even with approved blueprints and adherence to zoning laws, the transition from approval to actual construction poses a challenge. Market changes, financing issues, rising construction costs, and labor shortages contribute to stalled projects.


00:07:45 - The labor shortage in the construction industry can lead to significant delays in completing housing projects, as skilled workers such as bricklayers and finishers are in high demand and contribute to rising construction costs.

The Bottom Line

While the revival of the wartime housing plan presents opportunities for faster builds, details and execution will be crucial. The consultation process will determine the effectiveness of the plan in addressing Canada's housing crisis.

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