The housing and homelessness crisis in Ontario continues to be a serious and widespread issue. Finding a place to live in Ontario is a struggle for many due to low vacancy rates, limited supply, and an insufficient mix of housing options. The costs of ownership and rental rates are rising much faster than incomes, and people experiencing homelessness are in desperate need of a roof over their heads.
The crisis has both a social and economic cost for people and communities. Housing is a key social determinant of health and essential to finding and maintaining a job. In many areas, local employers struggle to attract and retain employees who can afford suitable housing near their job.
Ontario is the only province or territory in Canada where housing is a municipal responsibility and AMO has actively participated in housing policy for years. Addressing the complex challenge of housing and homelessness requires bold action and leadership from federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
AMO’s most recent paper, "The Blueprint for Action: An Integrated Approach to Address the Ontario Housing Crisis” was released in February 2022.The Blueprint outlines 12 housing principles and 90 recommendations for consideration by all three orders of government and the development and non-profit housing sector. The Blueprint has guided our input during recent provincial and federal consultations on housing and are the foundation for our ongoing advocacy.
The provincial government passed Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act in April 2022, which made changes to several pieces of legislation including the Planning Act. AMO has voiced concerns that this legislation gives municipal governments more responsibility, transfers risk, and creates a more punitive planning system. It will likely have unintended results and will not contribute to affordable housing in healthy communities as hoped.
However, AMO is encouraged by the Ontario government’s commitment to create a Housing Supply Working Group. We look forward to continuing to work on housing affordability through communication and collaboration with the AMO Board, the AMO Housing and Planning Task Forces, and the MOU table. Addressing this problem together will require more conversation and joint action planning based on consensus.
Affordable housing contributes to the economic and social well-being of Ontario’s communities and the province as a whole.
AMO is committed to working with all orders of government as well as the private, nonprofit, and cooperative housing sectors to collaborate on lasting and effective affordable housing solutions.