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Trudeau pushes 3D-printed homes to solve Canada housing crisis


Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced measures aimed at making it easier and cheaper to build new homes, with an emphasis on prefabricated modular housing.

The federal government will provide C$50 million (US$36.8 million) to a new fund meant to “support the scale-up, commercialisation and adoption of innovative housing technologies and materials,” Trudeau’s office said in a news release.

A further C$50 million will go through regional development agencies to help modernise homebuilding “through modular housing, mass timber construction, robotics, 3D printing and automation”, the release said.

Trudeau also announced C$11.6 million to support the creation of a catalogue of preapproved home designs to reduce the cost and time it takes to build housing – a strategy first used during World War II.

The unhoused find shelter in makeshift tent encampments at Clarence Square park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in February. Photo: Bloomberg

Earlier this week, Trudeau announced a top-up to a C$55 billion fund to provide low-cost financing for apartment building construction.

On Friday he said C$500 million of that would be used for new rental housing “using innovative construction techniques from prefabricated and modular housing manufacturers”.

The prime minister and his cabinet have made a series of announcements this week on housing measures that will be in the April 16 budget.

Trudeau has been under fire over the past year due to Canada’s soaring cost of housing and is trailing badly in the polls to Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre.

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Melissa Lantsman, deputy leader of the Conservatives, described Trudeau’s pre-budget announcements as “frantic” and accused him of re-branding and recycling policies that do not get homes built.

She said her party’s plan to provide a bonus to cities that increase homebuilding by 15 per cent annually – and fine those that do not – would be more effective.

While Trudeau has pushed provinces and cities to allow up to four units on every lot, Lantsman said her party would allow communities to decide which types of housing work for them.

“We just want to see more approvals and less gatekeepers in the way,” she said.

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