Canada’s newly-minted housing minister addressed reporters on Wednesday, putting particular emphasis on the importance of immigration as the country continues to grapple with the housing crisis.

“I would urge caution to anyone who believes the answer to our housing challenges is to close the door on newcomers,” said Sean Fraser, who was sworn in as Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities as a result of yesterday’s cabinet shuffle. “If we don't continue to welcome people through thoughtful immigration policies that are going to meet the economic needs of our communities, we won't maximize our economic potential.”

Fraser -- who, until yesterday, was serving as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship -- assumed his current role from Ahmed Hussen. During his time as housing minister, Hussen faced no shortage of backlash for his policies, which many housing analysts believe have failed to address the scale of the housing crisis at play.

Although Fraser acknowledged on Wednesday that there are “no simple solutions” to the housing challenges facing new and existing Canadians, he also said, “the answer is, at least in part, to continue to build more stock.”

“We understand that housing is a bottleneck to economic growth. It's a real challenge for people my age and younger who are trying to get into the market, but it's also a real challenge for low-income families,” he said. “But if we continue to advance measures to help build more stock, make sure it's easier for people to get into the market, and make sure we're offering protections for low-income families, particularly in vulnerable renting situations, we're going to be able to make a meaningful difference.”

Fraser also discussed his intention to take a “people-focused approach” to housing policy, and one that takes into consideration infrastructure in tandem with housing production.

“If we encourage cities and communities to build more housing where infrastructure already exists or where it's planned to be, we're going to be able to leverage more progress for every public dollar that's invested into these important areas that really impact people's day to day quality of life.”

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