Quebec has a "deficit" when it comes to the construction of student housing. To remedy this situation, several stakeholders in the housing and education sectors met for the first time on Tuesday to go into solution mode.

At the initiative of a group dedicated to developing student lodging, the first goal of the meeting was to take stock of the needs and agree on a construction target.

"At the moment, we can clearly talk about a shortage of student housing in Quebec, even an accumulated deficit because it's been several decades since we've built a substantial amount of student housing," said Laurent Levesque, executive director of the Unité de travail pour l'implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE), which is working on affordable student housing projects in various Quebec cities.

The issue of housing could begin to represent a barrier to access to higher education in a context where affordable housing is scarce in many student areas, according to Levesque.

The meeting, held in downtown Montreal, included representatives from the ministries of housing and higher education, student associations and colleges and universities.

The discussions were intended to identify priority measures to accelerate the construction of housing units, particularly with regard to financing, regulations and collaboration between public authorities and developers," said Mr. Levesque before the meeting began.

Quebec has more than 250,000 student tenants.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2023.