In the face of rising housing costs virtually across the board, the CEO of Canadian Apartment Properties REIT believes drastic measures are needed across all levels of government.

Mark Kenney told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday that government plans to increase immigration, while welcomed, were not accompanied with significant investment to improve housing supply, while other taxes and fees have also stymied growth.

“There's a whole myriad of headwinds here that we have to get through, but it takes bold action, all three levels of government, not just sympathy and understanding,” he said.

Kenney pointed to high pre-construction development fees hurting projects before they get off the ground, governments without a plan to address population growth and community members unwilling to deal with the growth. 

“It's the not in my backyard mentality,” he said. “People don't want development. They want to vote for immigration, but they don't actually want development in their backyard and the provinces who have the least influence on those two factors are left to solve the problem.”

The pandemic exacerbated the issue, Kenney added, as those who moved back into family homes during the lockdowns are now back in the rental market and further tightening supply.

To address the issues, Kenney suggests incentives for development, which would guarantee a return on development projects, though the possibility of another rate hike later this week could further stifle action.

Last year, the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation estimated 5.8 million new homes need to be built by 2030 to address Canada’s housing crisis.