Massive Undercount Of Non-Permanent Residents Deepens Canada’s Housing Affordability Crisis, As The Liberal Government Shows Zero Willingness To Change Course

The new Housing Minister was previously in charge of Immigration, which isn’t exactly promising.

Nobody can deny that Canada is facing a serious housing crisis.

It’s not merely that Canada doesn’t have enough affordable housing, we don’t have enough housing period.

Year after year, the Liberal government has sought to rapidly increase our population through significantly expanded immigration, even as the supply of housing hasn’t kept up.

Thus, the problem worsens every year, as the gap between the demand for housing and the supply of housing grows.

Unfortunately, the Liberal government is too constrained by ideology to address this challenge. Just like with ‘climate action,’ they are determined to double-down on huge population increases no matter what.

And now, it turns out that even the stunningly-high yearly increases in population have been downplaying the scale of population growth.

According to CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal, the number of non-permanent residents – largely international students – has been undercounted by 1 million.

The report explains that the undercount stems from two main sources.

First, non-permanent residents are undercounted in the census, as many NPRs are reluctant to speak to the government. The wording on the census question is also seen as complicated, meaning many NPRs may not be included in the proper category.

The other source of the undercount is the fact that many temporary residents don’t leave when their visas run out. Yet, Statistics Canada assumes temporary residents will leave within a month of their visas expiring:

“With subsequent changes to work visas for students, a larger share of more recent arrivals are believed to have the intent of extending their stay in Canada to work and apply for permanent residency. Many are awaiting an “invitation” through the Express Entry Program. Most of the remainder, while eventually intending to return to their home country, are attracted to extend their stay given ample employment opportunities in Canada. There is no known administrative action by IRCC to remove these expired TR visa holders from Canada. Nor is there a known mechanism to withdraw their employment or tax slip issuances by the CRA.

Accordingly, Statistics Canada’s practice of assuming an exit a month after the visa expiry has resulted in materially understating population, housing, and service demand forecasts (especially in university cities and towns) well before COVID began.””

Due to this undercount, Canada is two additional years behind when it comes to making up the gap between new housing construction and demand.

An uninterested government

Time and time again, we see that the Trudeau government makes a big announcement to gain short-term attention and political gain, and then has little interest in the follow through.

The Liberals have made huge immigration increases central to their political identity, and have attempted to demonize anyone who raised questions about the sustainability of those increases.

In the past week or so, the Liberals have hinted at perhaps looking at the international student system, but have refused to give any indication that they are planning to cut back on overall immigration levels.

New Immigration Minister Marc Miller has already downplayed any idea of reducing yearly immigration numbers. And of course, the man previously in charge of the immigration system – Sean Fraser – is now the new Housing Minister.

Thus, the Liberals are making it abundantly clear they are uninterested in addressing the consequences of their immigration policies.

Econ 101?

Canada is led by a government that lacks even the most rudimentary understanding of basic economic principles. Specifically, they completely ignore supply and demand, and then act shocked when their policies fail.

The Liberal government’s answer to the overdose crisis is to make illegal drugs more easily available.

The Liberal government’s answer to the affordability crisis is to increase the carbon tax and drive up energy costs.

The Liberal government’s answer to the rise of violent crime is to make it easier for violent criminals to get out of prison or avoid prison entirely.

The Liberal government’s answer to rising gun crime is to ease sentences on gang members while imposing further restrictions on law-abiding gun owners.

The Liberal government’s answer to rising Western alienation is to demonize the Western Canadian oil & gas industry while cozying up to Communist China.

The Liberal government’s answer to a shortage of affordable housing and declining social services is ramp up the population as fast as they can.

What the Liberal government is doing is worse than neglect. Neglecting a problem at least implies not actively making it worse.

Rather, the Liberals seem to look at every problem facing this country and then implement policies that actively make the problem worse.

Spencer Fernando


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