News and Views

National Housing Collaborative welcomes federal Budget 2017

OTTAWA, March 22, 2017 – The National Housing Collaborative – an alliance of nonprofit and private housing associations and major foundations – is very encouraged by much-needed commitments made in Budget 2017 to strengthen housing affordability, and looks forward to working with the government to help deliver a National Housing Strategy.

With today’s budget, Finance Minister Morneau made significant strides towards ensuring critical investments in housing grow and continue. The budget addresses several of the Collaborative’s priorities, including preventing and ending homelessness; financial tools to help with new rental housing supply and renewal; support to help social housing providers maintain rent-geared-to-income units when long-term operating agreements expire; and a social housing transformation fund, all with an emphasis on helping the most vulnerable.

Budget 2017 provides a significant, $11.2B down payment on housing, including a new $5B National Housing Fund that opens the door to other innovative affordability measures. As the government moves to further develop the National Housing Strategy, the Collaborative calls on it to make the most effective use of these resources. The National Housing Strategy to come must be grounded in the best evidence we have on what works, and use innovative, outcomes-based approaches to maximize these dollars.

Budget 2017 is a significant and tangible step to achieving the vision of housing affordability. The Collaborative looks forward to working with government on the National Housing Strategy and a comprehensive plan that addresses all components of Canada’s housing system.


“Safe, affordable, good quality housing is an essential foundation for building healthy, productive lives, and is an indispensable component of strong communities. It’s good to see strong national leadership investing in the foundation of our communities.” – Pedro Barata, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives and Public Affairs, United Way Toronto & York Region, Co-Chair National Housing Collaborative

“The government should be commended for committing to a National Housing Strategy, dedicating long-term funding to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, and beginning long-term reinvestment in affordable housing after decades of inaction by successive governments. Budget 2017 is an important and welcome step in the right direction.” – Tim Richter, President and CEO, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness

“Low-income households living in non-profit and community housing are at imminent risk of losing the assistance that keeps their housing affordable to them. We’re pleased the baseline operating assistance funding will be continued to ensure availability of affordable housing for low-income households, and we’re looking forward to working with the government on how it will be rolled out after operating agreements expire.” – Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada.

“In recent years, social housing operators have struggled to find money for the growing backlog of repairs to their aging portfolios. We are happy to see the government investing in this critical area, and encourage it to move forward with new financing and equity tools to enable the sector to become more self-sufficient.” – Howie Wong, CEO, Housing Services Corporation

“We need innovation across the entire housing continuum, from homelessness to social and supportive housing right through to affordability for market-based rental and homeownership. In support of this, we welcome the major federal investment being made in housing market data, which will improve the capacity for decision-making across the entire housing spectrum, recognizing the vital links between market and non-market housing affordability,” Kevin Lee, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association

“A nation-wide portable housing benefit would be the most cost-effective way to eliminate severe core housing need, the vast bulk of which is due to affordability gaps due to low incomes in high rent communities. We look forward to further developments in that direction.” – John Dickie, President, Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations

“The National Housing Strategy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change.  To be effective, we must invest in all parts of the housing continuum, including affordable homeownership. Habitat for Humanity Canada is working to bridge the gap between social/rental housing and market housing, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with government in making that happen.” Mark Rodgers, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity Canada



3 Tests for Success

The National Housing Collaborative

Housing Action in Budget 2017

The federal government has committed to the creation of a National Housing Strategy in spring 2017 based on the vision that “housing is the cornerstone of building sustainable inclusive communities and a strong Canadian economy where we can prosper and thrive.” The National Housing Collaborative – an alliance of nonprofit and private housing associations and major foundations – is keenly awaiting Budget 2017 as a downpayment on the government’s commitment to realizing its bold vision for housing.

Here are three things to look for in the upcoming budget as positive signs that a housing affordability agenda is moving forward in Canada. Continue reading “3 Tests for Success”

Housing Affordability and Poverty Reduction – Innovative Policy Solutions that Allow Us to Address Both

Kevin Lee, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association

Housing has emerged as a major area of public policy concern in Canada, and not surprisingly, given the daily features by news organizations about how little this amount or that amount buys you these days in Vancouver, Toronto, and a growing number of other markets. And with good cause, the federal government has started to work on the issue, having launched an initiative to develop a National Housing Strategy as well as a Poverty Reduction Strategy. To be truly successful, however, the government needs to take a comprehensive approach to these questions and ensure that both of these strategies include two essential pillars: a Portable Housing Benefit, and policies to address market-rate housing affordability. Continue reading “Housing Affordability and Poverty Reduction – Innovative Policy Solutions that Allow Us to Address Both”

Addressing Unaffordability in the Rental Housing Market

Nicholas Gazzard, Executive Director, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada

Housing market realities

The residential rental market differs from other consumer markets in certain key ways that result in the market being unable to meet the housing needs of many Canadian households at a price they can afford. So what are the causes of this market failure? Continue reading “Addressing Unaffordability in the Rental Housing Market”

Helping collaterally damaged renters

Marion Steele, Emeritus Associate Professor, University of Guelph. Resident Research Fellow, Cities Centre, University of Toronto

Last fall Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, announced a raft of measures to tackle the linked problems of financially precarious homeowners and accelerating house prices.  These measures put home ownership out of reach for many would-be home buyers, particularly those at the bottom of the much vaunted middle class.  The young in high-cost areas like the GTA are particularly affected.  An unfortunate side effect is that disappointed buyers, instead of vacating their rental accommodation, freeing it up for entrants into the rental market, will stay put, adding to rental demand pressure. Continue reading “Helping collaterally damaged renters”