Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has acknowledged the need to "do better" after constructing only 12 homes over eight years as part of a federal program to convert surplus Crown lands into affordable housing.“That does take some time,” an executive told the Senate Banking committee.“There has to be someone open and available to actually develop that property,” testified Neil Levesque, vice-president of Housing Operations at CMHC. “There are times when those federal lands need to be remediated and that takes some time and by remediated, there could be other contaminations or constraints related to the property. That does take some time to address.”In an Inquiry of Ministry presented in the Commons on September 24, CMHC reported it had sold eight surplus properties for new housing in various locations, including Edmonton, Calgary, Sudbury, Ottawa, Sherbrooke, Halifax and St. John's.Sales amounted to $16.5 million and there were plans to build 672 homes. However, only 12 homes were constructed and all were located in Sherbrooke.“In eight years, 12 new homes have been built,” said Senator Pamela Wallin (SK), chair of the banking committee. “CMHC expected to build more than 670. Only 12 were built, all in Sherbrooke. This speaks to process.”“What takes so long when we know there is a lot of Crown land out there?” asked Wallin. “There are some constraints,” replied Vice-President Levesque. “Once again, it is a partnership activity.”“You would acknowledge that 12 versus 672 is not a great record?” asked Wallin. “We want to do better for sure,” replied Levesque.According to Blacklock’s Reporter, in a 2015 Ministerial Mandate, the cabinet promised to “conduct an inventory of all available federal lands and buildings that could be repurposed for affordable housing.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated the pledge on September 13. “We are focused on building more houses,” he said.CMHC, in a 2022 report Canada’s Housing Supply Shortages: Estimating What Is Needed To Solve Canada’s Housing Affordability Crisis By 2030, calculated builders would have to construct 3.5 million homes in addition to current housing starts that average of 244,000 a year, the equivalent of a total 744,000 new homes annually. The most homes ever built in Canada in a single year was in 1976, a total of 273,200 units.“We estimate to reach affordability by the year 2030, Canada needs 3.5 million more homes than it is already on track to build,” Bob Dugan, chief economist at CMHC, told the banking committee. “Further, our research shows that reaching our goal would take an investment of about $1 trillion. This is a staggering sum of money.”“It looks like we’re stuck,” said Senator Paul Massicotte (QC). “It’s a challenge, I agree,” replied Chief Economist Dugan.