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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is gushing about a new 245-unit apartment building in downtown Victoria, B.C., and how “affordable” its units are. 

Hudson House, which Freeland touts as housing for “low- to middle-income Canadians,” currently lists 330 square foot micro-studio apartments for $1,700 a month and one-bedroom units for $2,470 to $2,680 a month. 

The micro-studio apartment floor plan includes space only for a Murphy bed, a piece of furniture that folds down from the wall.

“Hudson House, in the heart of downtown Victoria, is a fantastic new building with great amenities and design. With affordable apartments it’s the perfect place to call home for young couples, students, and families. A great example of how we are getting more homes built, faster!” Freeland posted on social media earlier this week.

Parking at Hudson House costs $175 per month, and tenants must also cover all of their utilities, except for water.

“It’s absurd to think that $1,700 a month for something the size of a bedroom is considered ‘affordable housing,’” journalist and housing expert Neil Sharma told True North. “It’s also insulting because, just three short years ago, $1,700 a month would have gotten you a hell of a lot more than a micro-unit.”

Sharma said rental units like these are of little help to Canadians.

“People’s quality of life will suffer in a cramped space that eats up most of their monthly income, and between the cost of shelter and consumer goods, they’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of poverty. This all happened under the Trudeau government’s stewardship,” said Sharma.

Chrystia Freeland said that the new apartments are “a prime example” of how “the federal government is building more homes for everyone, including families.” However, a two-bedroom unit at Hudson House is advertised at $3,300 to $3,500 per month. 

True North asked British Columbia Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon if he agreed with Freeland that a $3,300/month two-bedroom apartment is a great example of family housing, but did not receive a response.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing costs, including rent or mortgage payment and utilities, should be less than 30% of before-tax household income.

In Victoria, the median household income is $111,390, pre-tax. This means a household earning that amount should be spending $2,785 a month or less on housing and utility costs.

Freeland’s Mar. 11 statement said Hudson House will rent 227 of its 245 units “at or below 30% of the median local household income,” which means the majority of the units should be rented out at under $2,785 a month.

True North reached out to Hudson House to ask how its advertised $3,300 to $3,500 prices for two-bedroom units will align with this rule, but none of the multiple representatives contacted was willing to speak.

While home ownership has long been known as a marker of the middle class in Canada, more government-sponsored affordable housing projects, such as Hudson House, are being built for middle earners. 

“The middle class has been eviscerated in Canada – not to mention throughout much of the developed world – and I suspect what’s left of it will be gone by 2030,” said Sharma, who suspects rising housing costs and shrinking spaces are affecting fertility rates. 

“If you look up the average income in Canada and juxtapose it with what it costs to rent a family-sized home, it probably means fewer and fewer Canadians will have children. Canada’s population grew by more than a million people between July 2022 and July 2023, but only 2% of that growth was the result of domestic fertility.”

As for Chrystia Freeland, she is a landlord who owns residential property in Kyiv, Ukraine; rents out her two terrace houses in London, U.K.; and jointly owns her family farm in Peace River, Alta. Her husband also owns a rental property in Manhattan, and in 2013, he and Freeland bought a $1.3 million townhome in the upper-class neighborhood of Summerhill in Toronto.


  • Lindsay Shepherd

    Lindsay holds an M.A. in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has been published in The Post Millennial, Maclean’s, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and Quillette.