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Calgary business community urging governments to work together to fix housing crisis


Calgary’s business community is urging all levels of government to work together to build more homes in the city, but some Western premiers are placing the blame on Ottawa for their housing and mass migration concerns.

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce says that it wants to see housing starts more than double from 240,000 to 500,000 annually to match population demand.

"Ultimately, it's businesses that are going to build more homes, developers," said Ruhee Ismail-Teja, vice president of policy for the chamber.

"That's one thing, but (we) really need the support of governments to be able to increase the number of homes that are being built."

Canada's western premiers met in Whitehorse, Yukon, on Monday to address interprovincial partnerships, energy and housing affordability.

While responding to an Angus Reid report that cites people 18-34 in British Columbia are more likely to leave for places such as Alberta, B.C. Premier David Eby shifted the blame and his frustration toward the Trudeau Liberal government.

"They've offered us nothing," he said. "Zero dollars."

Premier Danielle Smith, sitting next to Eby, said Alberta has seen record population growth with more than 96,000 people moving to Calgary last year, according to Statistics Canada.

"It does seem to me they need to give us the tools if they want us to be able to settle newcomers, then they need to support us with the finances to do that," she said.

Ismail-Teja said red tape needs to be removed to allow more skilled labour workers to help build new homes.

"People need to be supported by infrastructure more broadly, and this is going to be a long-term challenge for us, not just responding to the changes over the last year with an increase in population," she said.

"We know that this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future."

The median price for a home in Calgary is a little more than $605,000. Top Stories

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