Sean Fraser named housing minister as part of cabinet shuffle

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Minister of housing, infrastructure and communities Sean Fraser smiling

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initiated a cabinet shuffle on July 26, resulting in the replacement of seven ministers and the reassignment of over a dozen others.

Among the notable changes was the creation of a new Ministry of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities, which will be led by former immigration minister, Sean Fraser. But why this choice?

This appointment comes at a time when the country faces two major challenges: immigration-fueled population growth and a worsening affordable housing crisis. And the two have often been linked, which points to the method in the ‘madness’ of Trudeau’s move.

Fraser made a connection between the two portfolios right away, stating that the 1.5 million new permanent residents that Canada hopes to bring in by 2025 will bolster the labour market, making it possible to build the homes needed to meet housing demand – 3.5 million of them, according to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation. In other words, things will get worse before they get better, because the solution will inevitably also contribute to the problem.

“I would urge caution to anyone who believes the answer to our housing challenges is to close the door on newcomers,” he said to reporters after being sworn in.

The previous housing minister, Ahmed Hussen, faced criticism for his handling of the housing shortfall as it persists across the country, and for potential bias as the owner of two rental properties in Ottawa. Since Fraser is not a landlord, there is less concern about any potential bias.

All eyes will now be on the new minister to boost housing stock, manage population growth and restore affordability in the housing market.

“There's no simple solution,” Fraser said. “But if we continue to advance measures that help build more stock, that help make sure it's easier for people to get into the market, and make sure we're offering protections for low-income families – particularly in vulnerable renting situations, we're going to be able to make a meaningful difference.”

More provincial government headlines

For minister Sean Fraser, immigration and housing are more than just numbers games – Maclean’s

Minister Fraser is inheriting a housing crisis, he intends 'to make the most of the opportunity' – Storeys

Ontario launches audits of 6 municipalities to look at how housing law will affect budgets – CBC

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