Labrador Chamber Meets with NL Housing Minister

Category: News Releases

Jun 2024

Last week while attending the Energy NL Conference, LNCC CEO Julianne Griffin met with The Honourable Fred Hutton, Minister of Housing for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Julianne also invited Stanley Oliver, Manager of the Indigenous Trades Office for Trades NL to join the meeting.
According to the CMHC, Canada needs about 3.5 million additional housing units by 2030 to restore affordability. And to meet the demand for housing in Newfoundland and Labrador, we need to build 10,000 more homes per year. We brought forward the pressing need for housing solutions in our region, and in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in particular.
There were several themes discussed in the meeting:

Integrated Housing Hub
  • The proposed new Integrated Housing Hub has led to much conversation in the business and broader community. Julianne spoke to Minister Hutton and NL Housing CEO Julia Mullaley about the need for improved engagement with the region, specifically members of the business community. While we recognize the need for modern facilities and programs to support vulnerable individuals, our concerns stem from the lack of meaningful discussions. The LNCC has been disappointed with government’s approach and lack of consultation, which continues to weaken the community’s trust in this development. As the liaison for the business community, the LNCC is continuing to strive to facilitate the voices of employers to engage in meaningful and important dialogue. We hope for a stronger relationship between employers and Government in the near future and we are ready and willing to assist with this relationship.
  • We encouraged a visit soon to Happy Valley-Goose Bay and will keep members updated and informed.
Affordability
  • We need to ensure there is an offering of mixed-use housing in our communities such as single housing, apartment buildings, seniors housing, and townhouses. Affordability is a pressing issue across Canada, but individuals should have the option of choosing which housing style is suitable to meet their individual needs.
  • The most pressing challenge for employers in Central Labrador is housing, and many employers are losing staff before they even arrive due to lack of housing.
  • Employers are now purchasing residential property for their staff, but not all employers are in a position to purchase property. The housing shortage is becoming even more pronounced.
  • We are committed to working with the municipal and provincial government to ensure zoning and development regulations do not create barriers for developers and others operating within the construction sector.
Modernization
  • Given the labour shortage, Government needs to move quickly to embrace technology and AI; options, in some cases, that require less labour from both government approval and a workforce perspective.
  • Several companies currently create pre-fabricated or modular manufactured housing units that lower costs, accelerate construction times and lessen the number of required workers.
  • Government needs to adopt best practices from other jurisdictions such as Fort McMurray who has implemented an e-permitting system with construction permit approvals taking less than a day.
Skills Development
  • There is a significant skilled labour shortage across the country, leading to construction and project delays in critical sectors such as housing.
  • Collectively, we need to ensure skilled trades is seen as a viable and fulfilling career. We need to remove barriers such as:
    • negative perception of a lack of development and advancement within the trades;
    • negative perception surrounding workplace culture;
    • financial barriers such as travel, PPE, training;
    • ensure women are welcomed and supported, from appropriate PPE to mentorship;
    • ensuring Indigenous workers and other underrepresented groups have access to careers in the trades, often beginning with companies creating partnerships and true commitments with communities;
    • encourage diversity within the sector, which is proven to lead to a more engaged and ambitious workforce
Engagement
  • Seeking solutions to the above mentioned barriers in the housing sector begins in communities and with organizations tasked with seeking solutions. During the discussion, the LNCC encouraged more dialogue and engagement with the housing and construction sector to ensure new programs and initiatives do not create additional barriers for the sector, including eligibility and permitting requirements.
For more information or to discuss the above, please contact LNCC CEO Julianne Griffin at ceo@chamberlabrador.com or (709) 896-8787.

 

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