One highlight of the 2017 program was a keynote presentation by Evan Siddall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada’s Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Siddall’s speech acted as an early presentation of Canada’s National Housing Strategy.
Recorded a week after Canada’s National Housing Day, on which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the strategy, Siddall recapped the belief that all Canadians should have access to the safe and affordable housing they need. The strategy, he said, has social inclusion at its heart. Presenting a human rights based approach to housing vulnerable groups – namely Canada’s LGBTIQ+ communities, women and children fleeing violence, youth, veterans and elderly – Siddall outlined a hope for a more inclusive Canadian future.
The economic benefit of investing in housing rings true in the NHC 2019’s theme for Housing future communities. Siddall relayed that each $1 invested in residential Canadian building construction produces overall GDP output of over $1.50 as it trickles through the economy. This financially and socially aware perspective is quite unique to Canada, where the government has decided to put housing closer to the centre of our fiscal policy.
Australia and Canada are two of the world’s least densely populated countries. Sydney and Vancouver are also placed second and third on the world’s most unaffordable cities. Siddall continued to return to the size of both countries as both a curse and a blessing. While space presents opportunity, it also reinforces isolation. The money invested in executing this strategy incorporated the rights of their country’s most vulnerable to social and physical isolation. Siddall surmised that when people have good houses, they have better health and access to education.
At #NHCDarwin, there will be a significant focus on opportunities and challenges for Australia’s Indigenous populations, as well as housing other future and pre-existing communities. Watch the program as we release new exciting speakers.
For further notes on Siddall’s speech please refer this transcript.