Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday December 23, 2023
Santa’s Elves: The Secret to Canada’s Housing Revival
‘Twas the season to be jolly, but this time Santa’s elves aren’t just wrapping presents – they’re gearing up for a new career in the trades! In a move that would make even the North Pole envious, Canada is resurrecting a post-war housing initiative with a 21st-century twist. Housing Minister Sean Fraser’s plan to create a catalogue of pre-approved home designs has us wondering if Santa should start training his elves for a construction spree to get ahead of the 2024 gift-giving season.
Back in the post-Second World War era, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. had a solution to housing shortages – straightforward blueprints. Fast forward to today, and we’re dusting off those blueprints with a focus on low-rise builds, student housing, and seniors’ residences. It’s like Christmas in July, but with houses instead of presents!
But why stop there? The housing initiative isn’t just about speeding up the construction process; it’s about addressing the shortage of skilled trades workers. With Canadians nearing retirement outnumbering young workers, it seems Santa’s elves might be the key to filling the gap.
Mike Moffatt, the housing expert, thinks this plan is “potentially very transformative.” And who could argue with Santa’s elves helping to boost productivity? After all, they’ve been making toys efficiently for centuries.
However, there’s a real-world challenge – the shortage of skilled trades educators. The Step to Construction co-op class is doing wonders, exposing students to various trades. Still, the shortage of qualified teachers is a Grinch-like obstacle. Maybe Santa can spare a few seasoned elves to become trade educators and spread the joy of craftsmanship.
Matthew Bradley, the TDSB’s co-ordinator, points out that better recognition of trades work experience for teachers could help attract more educators. Let’s face it; a pay cut from toy-making to teaching is no one’s idea of holiday cheer.
The key is to raise awareness about the pathway to skilled trades. Mandy Rennehan, the construction mogul, encourages us to see trades as a “sexy, essential industry” full of opportunities. It’s time to break stereotypes – trades aren’t just back-breaking labor; they’re evolving with robotics, AI, and advanced tools.
As we unwrap the potential of Canada’s housing initiative, let’s embrace the idea of Santa’s elves learning trades. Who knows, maybe next Christmas, they’ll be delivering houses down chimneys instead of gifts. It’s a humorous twist on a serious issue, proving once again that in the world of housing, sometimes a bit of magic – and a touch of North Pole humor – is exactly what we need. (AI)