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Affordable housing: our chance to get it right

Action on Canada’s housing crisis

Housing is more than just a roof over your head. Safe, affordable housing makes our cities and communities welcoming places to live, work and start a business. It's also important to retaining workers and attracting newcomers to enrich our neighbourhoods and drive economic growth.

Yet today, one in five renters spends half of their income on housing, and a million and half households can't access a decent home they can afford. More than 235,000 Canadians will experience homelessness this year.

Local governments are supporting new housing where we can, by offering land, exempting fees, expediting permits. We're using tools like land use planning to link new housing into long-range plans to build more livable, competitive communities. But we can't tackle the housing crisis alone.

With strong advocacy from FCM and its municipal members, Budget 2017 marked a game-changing federal re-engagement in affordable housing in cities and communities across Canada. But to make a real difference, the details of these commitments will be critical.

The federal government is set to unveil its National Housing Strategy before the end of 2017. Municipal leaders are urging the federal government to seize this opportunity to build a brighter housing future from coast to coast to coast.

We envision a long-term transformation of Canada's housing system-with more and more diverse affordable housing choices for Canadians of all income levels. We also know that transformation starts with the basics: significant, well-designed investments to repair and build social and affordable housing. With our united municipal voice, we're determined to see that happen.

Canada’s housing opportunitySeptember 2017

Read how FCM’s Big-City Mayors’ Caucus wants the National Housing Strategy to get it right and transform affordable housing for the next generation.

Canada’s housing opportunityOctober 2016

Read FCM's submission to the National Housing Strategy consultations.

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: 11/10/2017