NDP calls on feds to give study permits to institutions with ‘credible’ housing plan

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced a plan to address student housing shortages on Thursday.

The party is calling on the federal government to allocate student permits to post-secondary institutions that demonstrate they have a credible and affordable housing plan.

The proposal comes as the number of international students enrolled in Canada skyrockets, putting more pressure on housing shortages.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press that the federal government is reconsidering international student flows, particularly since some students have been victims of fraud. 

“Landlords are asking for a whole year’s worth of rent as a deposit,” Singh said. 

“What student can come up with that type of liquidity? It’s impossible.”

Singh is also calling on the federal government to establish a funding model to get more student housing built, which would see the federal government, provinces and territories and post-secondary institutions contributing money in equal parts.

He said Ottawa should incentivize partnerships to help convert empty office spaces for residential use, including for dormitory-style student housing.

“We have to tackle this problem,” he said.

Singh highlighted a Toronto project that was a collaboration between a not-for-profit organization and businesses, which he said will house more than 500 students with “deeply affordable rents.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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