Canada’s mayors call for national leadership now to tackle the housing crisis (30/09/2016)
Canada is facing a serious housing crisis which will only get worse unless the federal government commits significant funding to social and affordable housing. That was the key message delivered by Canada's mayors at a Toronto Housing Summit today.
"The housing crisis is a big problem that requires big ideas and a big investment," said City of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, who chairs the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus. "We welcome this federal government's bold commitment to infrastructure, and we're saying housing needs to be at the heart of this ambitious plan to strengthen Canada."
Today, mayors presented the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, federal minister responsible for housing with principles for a National Housing Strategy. The principles include protecting the 600,000 social housing homes that rely on expiring federal funding, building new affordable homes, and improving affordability for those in need. These principles build on the initial steps taken by the government in Phase 1 of its ambitious infrastructure plan. Mayors estimate that $12.6 billion of what remains for Phase 2 of the Social Infrastructure component of the 10-year federal infrastructure plan, in addition to sustaining existing federal investments, will be needed to make significant progress on addressing the crisis.
"Unlocking our potential as a city, and as a country, depends on ending the housing crisis. We need renewed partnership from all orders of government to address the gravity of the problem that exists after long-term underinvestment in affordable housing," said City of Toronto Mayor John Tory, who hosted today's Toronto Housing Summit.
One and half million Canadians are unable to find adequate, suitable or affordable housing. At least 250,000 households are in imminent risk as federal social housing operating agreements expire, while over 150,000 more families ensure long waitlists. Cities are working at capacity to address housing needs by providing municipal land, waiving fees and expediting approvals for affordable housing projects.
"This government's public mandate to invest in social infrastructure gives them a historic window of opportunity to tackle the housing crisis, but it closes soon. That big housing carve-out needs to start now, as they design that Phase 2 Social Infrastructure Fund," said Mayor Iveson.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors' Caucus announced their principles for the National Housing Strategy at the Toronto Housing Summit which brought together federal, provincial and municipal leaders and over 200 representatives of non-profit, co-operative and private sector organizations, as well as residents and housing experts.
About The Federation of Canadian Municipalities
FCM is the national voice of municipal government. In leading the municipal movement, FCM works to align federal and local priorities, recognizing that strong hometowns make for a strong Canada.