NEW FEDERAL CABINET MINISTERS
On October 26, Prime Minister Trudeau’s new cabinet was sworn in. This e-Newsletter sets out some background on the main six Ministers who are of particular relevance to Canada’s rental housing providers.
Minister of Finance – Chrystia Freeland
Chrystia Freeland is returning as the Minister of Finance, and Deputy Prime Minister. She has been the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada since 2019, and Minister of Finance since August 2020.
Ms. Freeland was first elected as a Member of Parliament from Toronto in July 2013. She was elected as the MP for University—Rosedale in October 2015, and re-elected in October 2019 and September 2021.After launching her career in journalism as a Ukraine-based freelance correspondent for the Financial Times, The Washington Post, and The Economist, Ms. Freeland went on to various roles at the Financial Times of London.
Key tax issues for rental housing will include the Liberals’ promises to limit interest deductibility, and to review the tax and profit position of REITs and other large landlords. CFAA will address those and other issues with Minister Freeland and Finance Department officials.
Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion – Ahmed Hussen
Ahmed Hussen has been appointed to the newly created position of Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. This represents the first time that the Trudeau government has appointed a Minister dedicated to the housing portfolio. Mr. Hussen previously served as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (which was responsible for housing and CMHC, prior to the creation of the new position).
Minister Hussen immigrated to Canada in 1993. After finishing high school, he worked for the Hamilton social services department. He later played a key role in securing the $500 million revitalization project for Regent Park, in Toronto (the largest social housing complex in Canada), while ensuring that the interests of Regent Park’s 15,000 residents were protected. Minister Hussen also served as National President for the Canadian Somali Congress.
After earning a law degree from the University of Ottawa, Minister Hussen practised law in the areas of criminal defence, immigration and refugee law, and human rights. Mr. Hussen represents the riding of York South—Weston (in Toronto), where he was elected in 2015, and re-elected in 2019 and 2021.
From the perspective of for-profit rental housing providers, Minister Hussen’s background in tenant and human rights advocacy could present a challenge. CFAA will advocate strongly to him in support of the rental housing industry. We will also engage with his officials and colleagues in CMHC and other departments. Since for-profit rental housing providers rent disproportionately to people of colour, recent immigrants and people who are members of other marginalized groups, and since the industry is advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, CFAA may be able to increase Minister Hussen’s appreciation of the positive ways in which the rental housing industry serves tenants. Programs under Mr. Hussen’s influence include the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, the Canada Housing Benefit, and the forthcoming $4B Housing Accelerator Fund, which is to help Canada’s large cities increase housing supply more quickly.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development – Karina Gould
Karina Gould is the new Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was formerly responsible for housing initiatives within Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), as well as CMHC. The Minister appears still to be responsible for federal homelessness programs, but CMHC and housing have been placed under Minster Hussen.
National Resources Canada Minister – Jonathan Wilkinson
Jonathan Wilkinson is the new Minister of Natural Resources (NRCan). Mr. Wilkinson was first elected as the Member of Parliament for North Vancouver in 2015. He has previously served as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Raised in Saskatchewan, Minister Wilkinson spent more than 20 years in the private sector, holding leadership positions with a number of companies dedicated to the development of green technologies.
NRCan is important to rental housing providers because of its work and programs aimed at advancing building alterations and retrofits, and new builds that reduce energy use and GHG emissions. NRCan is home to the newly created Housing and Communities Division, which brings together all of the Department’s former tools for residential GHG reductions, including residential building code development, funding and incentive programs, and market transformation initiatives for energy efficient housing technology. CFAA will work on those issues with Minister Wilkinson.
Environment and Climate Change Minister – Steven Guilbeault
Steven Guilbeault is the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie in 2019. He has previously served as Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Minister Guilbeault has long been committed to environmental issues. In 1993, Mr. Guilbeault co-founded Équiterre, the largest environmental organization in Quebec. He served as its Senior Director from 2008 to 2018.
CFAA will advocate to Minister Guilbeault on climate change policies and their impact on rental housing buildings, including frameworks, plans and targets for GHG reductions in Canada’s building sector, which is already a priority within the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities – Dominic Leblanc
Dominic Leblanc is the new Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. First elected in 2000 and re-elected seven times since, Mr. LeBlanc has represented the riding of Beauséjour, in New Brunswick, for over 20 years, and has held many senior positions in the governments of Mr. Chretien, Mr. Martin and Mr. Trudeau.
CFAA will work with Mr. Leblanc on federal-provincial issues and programs, including agreements under the National Housing Strategy, the Investing in Canada national infrastructure program, and other financial support for Canada’s municipalities related to housing and transit.
Story by: Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations (CFAA)