Prime Minister Justin Trudeau played coy Tuesday in Vancouver about what specific housing relief is in the works for British Columbians as wages fail to keep pace with record levels of inflation.
“Without giving away too many details, I can assure you that investments in housing here in the Lower Mainland – but indeed across the country – will be a strong topic in the budget that we'll be presenting in the coming weeks,” Trudeau told reporters following a keynote speech at the Globe Forum 2022 in the city’s downtown.
The average multiple-listing service (MLS) residential price in B.C. was $1.109 million in February — up 24.9 per cent from the $887,866 recorded in February 2021, according to data from the B.C. Real Estate Services Association.
Meanwhile, inflation reached a 31-year high of 5.7 per cent last month at the same time wage growth remained at levels TD senior economist James Marple described as “nominal.”
This comes as global uncertainty, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and recent COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai that are poised disrupt supply chains, is escalating consumer prices.
“There will be pain,” Trudeau said during the keynote address earlier in the day, referring to the consequences of Western sanctions targeting Russia.
“Yes, many people in democracies like ours will face higher energy and food prices. But others in the world may face outright shortages and famine.”
Speaking to reporters after the keynote, the prime minister said the Canadian economy has bounced back strong in the wake of the pandemic, “but it is also having an impact on higher housing prices.”
Trudeau pointed to initiatives such as the $10/day childcare program that Ottawa has partnered on with the B.C. government as among the measures offering relief.
He added the federal government is working on measures “to bring down housing costs, increase availability and affordability.”