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More supply needed to ease housing price crunch, but always more to do, Freeland says

Last Updated Apr 22, 2021 at 11:44 am MDT

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country needs a boost in the supply of housing to help make prices more affordable, but suggests there may be other steps governments can take.

Speaking at a virtual event, Freeland says the federal government wants to work with lower levels of government on the issue, saying there is more that cities, provinces and Ottawa can do together.

Freeland didn’t detail what other options could be out there during her hour-long talk with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Monday’s federal budget promised $2.4 billion over five years, beginning with nearly $1.8 billion this fiscal year, for affordable housing and pledged to tax foreigners who own vacant homes in Canada.

While Freeland says affordability is first and foremost an issue of supply, she also says housing shouldn’t be used by foreign buyers to store wealth offshore.

However, she says the government will take into account concerns from places like Whistler, B.C., where a tax may be problematic for Americans who own vacation properties in the area.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press