Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters as cabinet members look on during the Liberal cabinet retreat in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Wednesday, August 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Cabinet ministers leave retreat without new plans to address housing crisis

The federal Liberal cabinet is wrapping up a three-day retreat in Charlottetown today promising concrete action on housing but without any specific new initiatives on the table.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the housing challenge “has been decades” in the making and promises the government is focused on “getting more housing built.”

But the ministers will depart Charlottetown later today with no new announcements or even a commitment to follow through on advice given to them by housing experts during their sessions Tuesday.

Housing affordability has become a critical issue for Canadians in recent months with a perfect storm of rising interest rates, soaring rents and population growth outstripping the available housing supply.

A new Leger poll suggests four in 10 Canadians blame the Trudeau government for the housing crisis, while about three in 10 blame their province.

A report presented to the cabinet this week lists 10 things the federal government can do on housing, including cutting federal sales taxes on new rental construction and issuing a new federal benefit to Canadians who are at risk of becoming homeless.