November 22, 2017

Today, the federal government announced its much anticipated National Housing Strategy. AMO welcomes the announcement and the government funding commitments of $40 billion over ten years.

An overarching national strategy presents the opportunity for all orders of government to proactively work towards supporting Ontarians, and all people living in Canada, to meet their immediate needs and future housing aspirations.

It is especially important for Ontario’s municipal governments, as housing is a municipal responsibility unlike in other provinces and territories. Federal actions and long-term investments should support municipal governments and District Social Service Administration Boards to address housing and homelessness in their communities. The plan includes investments to both expand affordable housing and as well to repair and renew existing social housing. AMO advocated that both priorities be addressed in the strategy. 
Key highlights of the strategy are:
  • Focus on the needs of the most vulnerable through a human-rights-based approach to housing; 
  • Introducing legislation within the next year obligating the federal government to maintain a National Housing Strategy and a report to Parliament on housing targets and outcomes;
  • Establishing goals to:
    • decrease chronic homelessness by 50%
    • remove 530,000 families from housing need
    • invest in construction of 100,000 new affordable homes
  • Investments will include:
    • $15.9 billion for a new National Housing Co-investment Fund
    • $8.6 billion for a new Canada Community Housing Initiative
    • $4 billion for Canada Housing Benefit, working with provinces and territories
    • $2.2 billion to reduce homelessness
    • $300 in additional funding to address the needs in Canada’s north
    • $241 million for research, data and demonstrations
    • $200 million in land transfers to housing providers
  • Committing that at least 25% of funds go to projects for women, girls and their families; and,
  • Working with Indigenous leaders to co-develop distinctions-based housing strategies.
AMO will analyze the impact of the strategy with its Affordable Housing and Homelessness Task Force, providing members with relevant updates. Further information and clarification is needed on the particulars and next steps, especially how municipal governments in Ontario will be engaged. AMO looks forward to working with both the federal and provincial governments to provide advice on the final details and implementation of the strategy; a vitally important initiative to ensure housing stability and prosperity for the residents and communities in Ontario. 

For more information, see the National Housing Strategy, A Place to Call Home, on the Government of Canada website and the news release by the Canada and Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC). See also the Government of Ontario’s statement. 

AMO’s full submission to the federal government during the consultations in 2016 is found on the AMO website.