Housing shortage: Ottawa offers a catalog similar to that of the Second World War

To address the housing crisis, Ottawa will release a catalog of pre-approved World War II-era housing by next fall.

• Also read – Housing crisis: Ottawa will reissue “house catalogues”.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser sees this as “a concrete opportunity to build more housing more quickly” by shortening approval and construction times of all kinds.

According to Minister Fraser, citing “expert estimates”, the house catalog concept has the potential to “reduce the construction time of a project by up to a year”.

House under construction

By next fall, Ottawa will release a catalog of pre-approved World War II-era housing, announced yesterday by Housing Minister Sean Fraser. Web screenshot

Lessons from the past

From the 1940s through the 1970s, pre-approved design catalogs helped expedite the construction of housing for war factory workers and veterans returning from combat.

To house these workers, the federal government created a state corporation, the Wartime Housing Corporation, which built 46,000 housing units in eight years.

After the war, the forerunner of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) was formed to provide housing for hundreds of thousands of returning veterans.

Back then, some of these small houses of about 1,000 square meters were built en masse in just a few days, said Minister Fraser, who was holding a 1954 catalog with detailed plans.

These post-war buildings can still be found in many Canadian cities today.

House under construction

An example of veterans’ homes in the Émard and Côte-Saint-Paul neighborhoods of Montreal built using the Montreal History Center unified building plan model

Ottawa will begin consultations with developers, provinces and cities in January to put together its catalog, which should be available a few months later.

In this new war effort, the federal government will focus primarily on developing plans for multiplex cinemas, small apartment buildings and apartments for students and the elderly.

Minister Fraser does not yet know how many housing units this new initiative will build.

Canada is facing a severe housing crisis with no end in sight.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates the shortage of newly built housing will be 3.5 million in the country by 2030, including 620,000 in Quebec.

Without this additional contribution, it will be impossible to restore the costs that CMHC considered affordable as in the early 2000s.

Good idea

One of the authors of a recent study on the housing crisis, Mike Moffat, believes that mass production of pre-approved housing “has the potential to be extremely beneficial.”

“Imagine what the auto industry would look like if every car was built the way it was before Henry Ford,” he commented on the social network a huge labor shortage in the industry.”

According to Mr Moffat, a catalog could reduce permitting, permitting and construction times while requiring fewer workers.

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