December 18, 1957 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Mr. Barber@

135,000 housing units in 1956 alone, and one million housing units constructed between September 1954 and September 1956.
National Housing Act
I know that certain minimum standards must be respected, and certain definite types of houses built according to federal legislation. I wonder though what kind of supervision is carried out as far as the building itself is concerned. The new house being the government's security, it will readily be understood that it should be built according to certain standards of soundness, also to protect the occupant who has to pay for the house, and to ensure him improved accommodation. An attempt will be made to reduce the price of homes under construction but we wonder if, as an immediate consequence, there will not be a falling off in quality of craftsmanship in proportion to the corresponding decrease in price. If the price is $2,000 less, for example, there should be a check on the quality of materials used, and especially on the soundness of the construction methods.
Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation acts through the bank and lending institutions, as well as through private organizations. But who supervises the work? Who gives approval? Who guarantees that the building is put up in accordance with the plans and specifications laid down by Central Mortgage and Housing, that is, in final analysis, by the government?
I wonder if there is adequate supervision in cases where the prospective owner cannot personally supervise the work. It might be said that the houses are checked by a local agent of the C.M.H.C., a man who is very busy and who possibly lives forty miles or more from the building site. I do not question the competence of the men who pour the concrete into the forms, or of those who put up the framework and make the windows draught-proof but, as section 18 of the act prescribes that the work be inspected while the house is being built, I believe it is wise to determine when, by whom and how the certificates are issued testifying that the work was done according to the regulations and to the plans.
I have some fears in this regard and I point out to the government the need of closer supervision during construction if the purpose of the act is to be fully achieved. If the foundation breaks down because there is not enough cement in the concrete, if the walls are not properly insulated against cold, if heating costs are too high, this legislation, meant to be so helpful, will have failed of its main purpose.
To my mind, close supervision is important if we want the poor owner to be spared the obligation of giving up his house after a few years because of too rapid a deterioration of a house which was not properly supervised when it was being built.

National Housing Act
A man who undertakes to make payments for 40 years has the right to demand that a house be sound enough for him to feel some pride of ownership.
Therefore, as we are about to put another $150 million into this undertaking, I believe it is advisable to call the attention of the government to the need of closer supervision of the work while the house is going up and not after the purchaser occupies it with his family. The builders, men of initiative, will receive the money so loaned, which the owner will have to pay back. So, let us lend the money but let us protect the ones who will have to pay back the cost of the building. Of course, it is important that builders make a profit but, above all, what is required is good low cost housing for Canadians and their families.
Having said this, I approve of the bill because I approve of more housing, better living conditions and I wish to facilitate the purchase of a house by the greatest possible number of young Canadians and thus encourage them to save more by becoming home owners.

Topic:   IS, 1S57
Full View