August 2018
Backgrounder

A strong housing sector in Ontario is vital. Affordable housing contributes to the economic and social well-being of Ontario’s communities and the province as a whole. Ontario is the only province in Canada where housing is a municipal responsibility and Ontario municipal governments contribute more than the federal and provincial governments.

This responsibility is becoming increasingly challenging for municipalities: the demand for social housing is rising to record levels, housing is aging, and maintenance costs are increasing. As well, Ontario’s population is aging and has more complex health needs. This means there is an increasing demand for specialized residential care. Consider that in Ontario:
  • More than 171,000 households are on wait lists for affordable housing. 1
  • Most affordable housing units are between 18 and 50-years old. There is a $1.5 billion  backlog to address the minimum current capital repair alone.2
The current funding and delivery system for housing is not sustainable. Municipal property taxes cannot cover the costs of capital repairs, operations, administration and the development of much-needed new housing. For this reason, sustained federal and provincial investments in housing and homelessness prevention are welcome, appreciated and needed.

Key highlights of the AgreementAMO welcomed the news that there is a federal and provincial bilateral agreement to implement the National Housing Strategy in Ontario. An overarching national strategy with an Ontario agreement allows all orders of government to proactively to meet Ontarians’ housing needs now and for the future.

AMO wants to highlight municipal priorities so as to guide federal and provincial investments in housing. There is much at stake to ensure housing stability and prosperity for the residents and communities in Ontario.

The housing crisis is beyond the scope of any one government to address on its own. Aligning and bringing together the efforts between federal, provincial and municipal governments is much needed.

AMO looks forward to this new opportunity, where the federal government is increasing its involvement and municipal governments and District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSABs) continue to manage and work to address their communities’ needs. We look forward to the actions the new provincial government will take to further address the housing sector in Ontario.

1. Source: Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association. 2016 Waiting Lists Survey Report.
2. Source: Housing Services Corporation. Social and Affordable Housing Primer.