Economic report says more community housing directly linked to game-changing productivity gains

OTTAWA (November 27, 2023) – New research quantifies the link between community housing and economic productivity.  The report forecasts the economic benefits of increasing the proportion of Canada’s community housing to the OECD average and shows that a higher rate of community housing leads to increased economic productivity.
The report was commissioned by the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association and Housing Partnership Canada to quantify the economic impacts of investing in community housing.

Key Findings:

  • There is a causal connection between the proportion of community housing within the overall housing stock and gains in economic productivity.
  • Bringing Canada’s community housing stock to the OECD average by 2030 would boost economic productivity by a staggering 5.7% to 9.3%.
  • The economic benefit would increase GDP by an estimated $67 billion to $136 billion, without adding to inflation since gains in productivity boost our economy’s ability to grow.
  • CHRA estimates that gains to the economy will outweigh the costs within two years of hitting the target.
  • The economic gains are from the productivity-enhancing benefits ofhaving more community housing, rather than just the stimulus impact of building new homes. The impact is derived from addressing five productivity-depressing phenomena:
    • Geographical mismatch between workers and jobs that are the best fit;
    • Diminished human capital accumulation due to poor living conditions;
    • Neighbourhood effects that impact wellbeing and opportunities;
    • Diversion of income towards housing costs rather than upskilling; and
    • Depressed business investment and captive employment.


  1. Increase investment in community housing to boost productivity and Canada’s GDP.
  2. Commit to stable and predictable funding, financing, and tax incentives to build new homes and equip community housing providers with the resources to renew or acquire existing units over a long horizon.
  3. Provide dedicated funding for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing.
  4. Improve collaboration across provincial governments, municipalities, and builders to tackle the housing crisis.
  5. Support Canadian innovation that builds housing more quickly, sustainably, and affordably.


  • “The research supports a causal relationship between growing the community housing stock and economic productivity.” – Kevin Albers, Chair of Housing Partnership Canada; Chief Executive Officer of M’akola Housing Society
  • “Community housing has traditionally been seen as a social service, but now we know it is also critical economic infrastructure. The causal link between community housing and productivity is too great to ignore.” – Ray Sullivan, Executive Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association
  • “Our Indigenous housing research shows that the return on investment in social and affordable housing programs is more than seven times the benefit over the cost. Providing people with dignified homes is not only morally imperative, it’s the law. Human rights include the right to housing because housing is the foundation of everything and without it, the fabric of our society starts to disintegrate.” –  Margaret Pfoh, President of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association; Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Housing Management Association
  • “Canadian productivity growth has been a persistent challenge for several years and a better performance is crucial to raise the standard of living for Canadians. This study clearly shows how community housing availability can significantly contribute to improving Canadian productivity growth and through that the overall quality of life for Canadians.” – Jennifer Shulman, Partner, Economic Advisory and Sustainability, Climate & Equity, Deloitte Canada.


Download full report


About the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association was established in 1968 as a national non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening the social and non-profit housing sector. Our mission is to lead and provoke system-wide action toward the right to housing for all in Canada. Adequate housing provides a stable foundation from which people, communities and Canada as a whole can prosper; we advocate for improved housing policies and programs that keep housing affordable, expand housing capacity, and work to end homelessness. We support a sustainable housing profession and work to connect the broader sector, as well as our members, who collectively house and serve hundreds of thousands of people living in or seeking affordable housing.

About Housing Partnership Canada

Housing Partnership Canada (HPC) is a collaboration of Canada’s housing leaders. It operates as a peer-based network and business cooperative for senior housing practitioners of influential organizations that have a demonstrated commitment to innovation. HPC provides a catalyst for a dynamic exchange of information and experiences among its members, and fosters deeper collaboration and exploration on business practices and approaches with regard to the development, operation and sustainability of social housing in Canada. HPC is an independent, non-political body that initiated this project as part of its research priorities for the affordable housing sector.

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ENGLISH: Jacob Gorenkoff

FRENCH: Julie McNamara