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Affordable Housing

The Issue

Housing Affordability

Affordable housing is part of what makes our cities and communities welcoming places to live, work and start a business. It's also integral to retaining workers and attracting newcomers. Yet there are serious cracks in our housing foundation. Across the country, waitlists for social housing are too long, while rents and house prices are simply out of reach for many Canadians. That's a threat to our quality of life and economic growth.

Local governments are finding innovative ways to tackle Canada's housing crisis. But the scope and range of challenges are too complex for any one order of government to solve alone. FCM has successfully brought municipal housing issues to the national forefront and in federal budget 2016 we saw a shift to prioritize investments in social housing in the short term and a commitment to start working towards a long-term National Housing Strategy.

Working in partnership with the municipal sector, the federal government must dedicate a substantial funding carve-out for housing in its Phase 2 infrastructure program, and include in the proposed National Housing Strategy:

  • Predictable and long-term subsidies for rent-geared-to-income units affected by expiring operating agreements to protect vulnerable households.
  • Predictable capital investment in repair/renewal and new construction of social housing.
  • Expanded investment in the construction of new social and affordable housing, wehther through the Investment in Affordable Housing Framework or another delivery mechanism.
  • Continued and expanded investment in  the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, ensure it provides maximum flexibility to local communities to fund the initiatives that reflect local needs and priorities.
  • Expansion of affordable rental housing, urban Aboriginal housing and northern housing.

 FCM Resources

Cities and Communities:  Partners in  Canada’s Future Documents/reports/FCM/Built_to_Last_Strengthening_the_foundations_of_housing_in_Canada_EN.pdf Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead

Housing affordability and social housing


Partners in Canada's Future: the First 100 Days of Government

Built to Last: Strengthening the Foundations of Housing in Canada


Watch report author, Steve Pomeroy, explain the issues 

Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead


Read the:



Recommendations for the Affordable Rental Housing Financing Initiative

Recommendations for the Affordable Rental Housing Financing Initiative


Fixing Canada's Housing Crunch



Northwest Territories 


British Columbia 






New Brunswick 

Prince Edward  Island 

Nova Scotia 

Newfoundland and Labrador


Quick Facts


The amount returned in GDP for every dollar invested in housing.

Source: Finance Canada, Economic Action Plan: Employment and Output Impacts, 2009.

20 years

The length of time until our senior population doubles, just as federal support for social housing (one-third of which houses seniors) declines to zero.

Source: The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Seniors and Housing: The Challenge Ahead, 2014.


The percentage of household debt resulting from mortgages. Record high household debt is one of the greatest threats to Canada's economy according to the Bank of Canada.

Sources: Statistics Canada, National balance sheet and financial flow accounts, December 2015; Bank of Canada, Financial System Review, December 2014.

1 in 5

The number of renters who spend more than 50% of their income on rent.

Source: Statistics Canada, National Household Survey, 2011.
Page Updated: 21/10/2016