Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, moving Immigration Minister Sean Fraser into the role of Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.
Ahmed Hussen, who held the role since 2021 and faced criticism for his handling of the housing crisis, was moved over to become Minister of International Development.
Fraser was elected as the member of parliament for Central Nova in 2015 and has since served as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister. Prior to his election, the Pictou County, Nova Scotia native worked as a commercial litigation lawyer.
Immigration and housing have been intrinsically linked in Canadian discourse as of late, with an ongoing housing shortage and expectedly high immigration numbers causing concerns. With markets already tight and housing prices sitting sky-high, particularly in the rental market, affordability concerns are top of mind for Canadians, and Fraser will have his work cut out for him.
Cities like Toronto are already struggling to house the number of refugees and asylum seekers, leading to dozens of people having to camp out on sidewalks outside of a downtown homeless service centre. Last week, Fraser, as Minister of Immigration, announced a $97M injection into the Interim Housing Assistance Program to provide shelter to asylum seekers in Toronto. The City, however, says the funding falls "significantly short of what is required" from the federal government, which is responsible for refugees and asylum seekers in Canada.
Fraser and Hussen are just two of the nearly two dozen ministers shuffled around on Wednesday. Anita Anand was moved from Minister of National Defence to President of the Treasury Board, with former Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair taking over the national defence role. Mark Holland, previously the Government House Leader, is now Minister of Health, and Marc Miller will move from Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations to Minister of Immigration.
“We are ready to keep delivering on the things that matter most to you – making life more affordable, growing the economy, and creating good jobs for the middle class," Trudeau said in a release. "We have the right team, made up of accomplished people who reflect the diversity and talent of our country. Together, we will keep building a strong future for the middle class, and for all Canadians.”
Seven ministers were dropped from Trudeau's cabinet, including Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino whose tenure was plagued by several controversies, namely the transfer of murderer Paul Bernardo to a medium-security prison.
Eight ministers were kept in their roles, including Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, and Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu.
The full list of cabinet changes are as follows:
Changes to the Ministry
Ministers Remaining in Their Portfolio