To say 2021 was transformative for Canadians is, perhaps, an understatement. Two years into the pandemic, Canadians are living with new realities, challenges, and opportunities. What trends can we expect in transformation for 2022? We asked Coeuraj's Dan Pujdak, Bonnie Leask, Mike MacDonell, and Scott Cavan what they see as the top issues in Canada this year. Here is what’s on our radar this year.
Available, affordable, and adequate housing
As new homeowners vie for the opportunity to own a home, millennials are entering their prime earning years, and as a record-breaking number of new Canadians are coming into the country, the hot housing market will produce fiery debates.
The lack of available, affordable, and adequate housing in Canada has pushed the country into a social and economic crisis, decades in the making. The shortage of available housing is now reaching unsustainable levels given Canada’s projected population growth. To put our lack of supply into perspective, Canada would need to immediately create an additional 1.8M units in order to reach the G-7 average of housing units to population. For housing that is available, sky-rocketing prices mean that home ownership is out of reach for many looking to break into the market. In 2021 alone, the housing price index increased 26% according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. And the pressures do not end there: as the pandemic pushes on, many municipalities are seeing an increase in people experiencing houselessness. Shelter systems are buckling and “tent cities'' are cropping up due to dwindling housing options for those that need it most.
Collaborating to solve the housing crisis in Canada stands as one of the most important and urgent challenges of our time and will undoubtedly be top of mind for every person—and for every political leader—in Canada this year.
The full recognition of Indigenous peoples
There is unfinished business within the Canadian confederation: recognizing and collaborating with Indigenous jurisdictions. This gap will be magnified as governments recognize Indigenous child welfare laws; commit, in some cases, to legislate and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and as new Indigenous health care legislation is rolled out. Each of these initiatives touch on the jurisdictions of multiple governments, all of whom will need to be working towards the best interests of Indigenous peoples to succeed.
Indigenous peoples have consistently maintained their right to self-determination. It is only in recent years that federal, provincial, and territorial governments have showed up to join the conversation. Creating a bigger Confederation will not be without its challenges. We can expect Federal, Provincial, and Territorial priorities to bump into one another; Indigenous peoples evolving their understanding of their own governments (and delays while public civil servants and politicians digest what that means); and, likely, lots more time in the Supreme Court. However, the full recognition of Indigenous peoples and governments is the unfinished business of Confederation. In 2022, we can expect progress towards finishing it.