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Economic Study: The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity in Canada


Research from Canada shows the economic value of protecting and building more cooperative and non-profit housing. The analysis in this report, titled “The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity,” finds that there is a causal connection between the proportion of community housing within the overall housing stock and gains in economic productivity.

The report suggests that bringing Canada’s community housing stock to the OECD average by 2030 would boost economic productivity by a staggering 5.7% to 9.3%. This would increase GDP by an estimated $67 billion to $136 billion, without adding to inflation since gains in productivity boost the 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 of having 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 well-being and opportunities, diversion of income towards housing costs rather than upskilling, and depressed business investment and captive employment.


The report provides five policy recommendations to boost community housing supply and tackle Canada’s productivity problem. These recommendations include increasing investment in community housing to boost productivity and Canada’s GDP, committing 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, providing dedicated funding for urban, rural, and northern Indigenous housing, improving collaboration across provincial governments, municipalities, and builders to tackle the housing crisis, and supporting Canadian innovation that builds housing more quickly, sustainably, and affordably.

Read the full Report.

Read the Policy Brief.

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