- Atlantic Canada
- Central Canada
- Western Canada
- Northern Canada
- The Auditor General reported that the federal government does not know if it’s reducing chronic homelessness
Canada’s Auditor General (AG) released a report evaluating the Federal Government’s efforts on ending chronic homelessness. The report found that despite spending billions on initiatives, Infrastructure Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation did not know whether their efforts were improving housing outcomes, or in some cases, who was benefitting from their initiatives. The report also found that the rental units approved under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund were often unaffordable for lower income households. The AG called on federal departments to coordinate their efforts to reduce homelessness, enhance their data collection and analysis strategies, and assess whether current initiatives are addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.
- The Federal Housing Advocate said Canada’s National Housing Strategy must be fixed
Five years ago, the federal government released its 10-year, $72-billion National Housing Strategy which aims to solve Canada’s housing and homelessness crisis. The strategy promised to reduce core housing need and reduce chronic homelessness by 50% by 2028. Marie-Josée Houle, Canada’s Federal Housing Advocate, argued that the current housing strategy is not working and that the number of people in housing precarity has increased over the last five years due to the rising cost of rent and inflation, few protections against eviction, and an unforgiving housing market. The Federal Housing Advocate called for the strategy to be overhauled to reflect the realities of today’s world. She proposed refocusing the strategy towards helping lower income people stay housed as they cope with the impacts of inflation. She also called for the strategy to take a for-Indigenous, by-Indigenous approach by providing Indigenous governments with the resources to respond to the housing crisis in their communities. Lastly, she called for the strategy to put a greater focus on funding the development, repair, and acquisition of not-for-profit and permanently affordable housing.
- The Federal Housing Advocate will review the impacts of the financialization of housing in Canada
The Federal Housing Advocate selected financialization of housing as the first systemic issue to undergo a rights review and has commissioned a series of reports by housing rights experts and academics. The reports received by the Advocate demonstrate the impact of financialization of housing on rents, evictions, discrimination and worsening living conditions. The summary report of key findings offered a list of 51 recommendations for all levels of government, including regulating financialized actors, strengthening renter protections, and supporting public and non-profit supply of housing at the provincial level. Communities and groups across Canada are encouraged to make a submission to the Federal Housing Advocate on this systemic housing issue.
- The federal Parliamentary Black Caucus sought budgetary input from Black-led organizations
The federal Parliamentary Black Caucus hosted a pre-budget consultation, inviting Black-led organizations and stakeholders to make a submission to share their priorities for Black Canadians in the federal government’s 2023 budget.
- New housing data released by Statistics Canada brings mixed news
On September 21, Statistics Canada released its 2021 Census data on housing, which found that the proportion of people living in core housing need fell from 12.7% in 2016 to 10.1% in 2021 due to rising incomes. While this may demonstrate that people are struggling less with housing affordability, adequacy and suitability, the situation is much more complex. In terms of affordability, shelter costs increased by 17.6% between 2016 and 2021 for renters while homeowners experienced an increase of 9.7%. At the same time, income supports targeted to lower income communities during the pandemic such as CERB have likely played a role in improving housing affordability in 2021. That said, one in five renters spend more than 30% of their income on shelter costs. The data also showed that renters are disproportionately impacted, with twice the number of renters experiencing core housing need in large cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver compared to homeowners. In addition, three times as many Indigenous people lived in housing in need of repairs compared to the general population even as housing conditions for Indigenous communities have improved since the last census period. Notably, homeownership rates have declined over the last five years. While the greatest decline is seen amongst younger adults aged 25 to 29, the trend of declining homeownership rates is expected to continue. Finally, provincial variations show that British Columbia has the highest rate of unaffordable homes at 25.5% with Ontario next at 24.2%.
- The federal government announced new measures aimed at addressing rising unaffordability
On September 13, the federal government announced it will more than double its Budget 2022 commitment to provide $500 in housing benefits in addition to the existing one-time rental supports offered under the Canada Housing Benefit program. At a cost of $475 million, the government says the benefits will reach 1.8 million people. In addition, the government announced a $200 million investment in a five-year rent-to-own program under the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. As part of a larger $2 billion investment to create up to 17,000 homes in Canada, these funds are to be used in helping housing providers create rent-to-own models. In this arrangement, first time homebuyers who are struggling to secure a mortgage have the option of building up equity through paying a portion of their monthly rent towards a down payment with the intention of eventually purchasing the unit. Experts noted that the program may make housing more accessible but not necessarily more affordable.
- The federal government progresses on developing the new Housing Accelerator Fund
The federal government’s newly announced Housing Accelerator Fund, which commits to growing housing supply in urban areas to create middle-class homes, was referred to the HUMA standing committee for consultations on design and approach. CCHR provided our rights-based recommendations to the standing committee, and many other organizations, advocates and governments provided their input. HUMA released their recommendations report on the new fund in September.
- Government of Canada nearly doubled funding to address rise in homelessness
The Government of Canada announced increased funding for Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy. Launched in April 2019 with over $2 billion in funding, August’s announcement increased the Strategy funding to nearly $4 billion. CCHR called on the government to enhance supports for people experiencing homelessness as well as in our 2022 Budget Submission and we hope the increase helps reach the National Housing Strategy goal of reducing chronic homelessness in Canada. We will continue to advocate for changing the definition of homelessness to include the experiences of women and gender-diverse populations so that the Reaching Home fund can support ending all forms of homelessness in Canada.
- The National Housing Council made recommendations to advance the right to housing in Canada
The National Housing Council, an advisory body created through the National Housing Strategy Act, released its interim report on how the federal government can fulfill its housing rights obligations, based on consultations with people with lived and living experience of housing need and homelessness, as well as organizations who support them. The NHC outlined five high-level recommendations for the federal government: to incorporate right to housing language in all key government activities; to shift housing policy and programs to a rights and needs-based design with an intersectional, GBA+, anti-discrimination, decolonization and human-rights based approach; to prioritize a separate, fully-funded ‘For Indigenous, By Indigenous’ process of implementing the right to housing for Indigenous peoples; to define clear measurements for progress; and to better coordinate between different levels of governments.
- Big investors may be looking to Canada’s home market
In the United States, investment firms have become the biggest buyers of new homes in the country, which has reduced housing options for middle-income earners looking to buy a home and contributed to rising rents. Some real estate experts believe that Canada’s housing market will become a target for private equity investors. There is a lack of data about the size of private equity investment in Canada’s homeownership market, though Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) hold a large percentage of the multi-family rental market. In some provinces, individuals who own more than one property hold as much as 41% of all residences. The financialization of housing, where homes are increasingly becoming used to increase investments of financialized actors, is a significant driver of the current housing crisis across the country.
- Canada needs to build more affordable housing for newcomers
With a low national birth rate and high labour demand, immigration is more important than ever to support growth in Canada’s economy. However, the findings of an SSHRC-funded study indicated that newcomers to Canada are struggling to find places to live. Currently, the combination of modest population growth, housing financialization and increased housing demand is rapidly driving up prices, a lethal combination for newcomers. Priced out of the ownership market, many are left renting units that are overcrowded and inadequate. The research called for immediate action across levels of government to increase housing supply and affordability, including units that can accommodate larger families.
- More Canadians are living with roommates, Census shows
Census data from Statistics Canada showed that roommate households have grown faster than any other housing arrangement since 2001, particularly among those ages 20 to 34. The data also indicated that while there are fewer one-family households, there are more multi-generational households than before. Overall, the data showed a changing picture of young adulthood in Canada, something Statistics Canada connected with rising housing costs. While a record 4.4 million people lived alone in 2021, this trend is least prevalent in Ontario, a province with above average housing costs and a proliferation of young adults living with their parents. See CCHR’s analysis of the census data.
- The Federal Housing Advocate started accepting submissions on systemic housing issues in Canada
The Office of the Federal Housing Advocate launched an online tool to accept submissions from communities impacted by inadequate housing and homelessness from across Canada. By sharing their experiences of housing precarity and inadequacy, communities can help inform the Advocate’s recommendations to the government to improve Canada’s housing laws, policies and programs. This is a keyway that communities can participate in driving change and advancing the right to housing for all.
- Two submissions on systemic housing issues facing women and gender-diverse people were delivered to the Federal Housing Advocate
The Women’s National Housing & Homelessness Network and the National Indigenous Feminist Housing Working Group delivered two submissions to the Federal Housing Advocate on systemic housing issues experienced by marginalized women and gender-diverse people. The submissions outlined how the failure to invest in affordable housing violates women and gender-diverse people’s right to equality and right to housing. They highlighted how the National Housing Strategy is failing those who are impacted the most by the housing crisis – Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit persons; single mothers living on low-incomes; women with disabilities; Black and racialized women and gender-diverse people; newcomers and refugees; and many others who face intersecting forms of marginalization.
- Study found that Canadians with disabilities are much more likely to live in unaffordable homes or units in need of major repairs
A study by Statistics Canada examined data from the 2016 Census and found that 25% of people with disabilities lived in unaffordable homes, compared to 20% of the total population. People with disabilities are were more likely to live in rental housing, in subsidized units, in overcrowded units, and in units in need of major repairs.
- Federal government opened applications to fund Black-led organizations to build housing for Black households
The federal government started accepting applications from eligible Black-led organizations to receive up to 40% funding for new affordable housing projects that will benefit Black households. Funded projects can include community and affordable housing, mixed-use market rental housing, conversion from non-residential use to affordable housing, shelters, and transitional and supportive housing.
- CMHC report examined how housing supply is impacting affordability across Canada
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)’s Housing Supply Report showed that even though some of Canada’s largest cities are building more rental buildings, overall housing starts did not keep pace with population growth in these cities. CMHC claimed that this is the biggest issue affecting housing affordability, both for homeownership and rental housing. However, housing researcher Steve Pomeroy warned that simply increasing supply will not bring prices down, and lower-income residents will continue to be squeezed out of the market. The solution will lie in increasing the right supply of housing and enacting regulations to maintain affordability levels.
- 2022 federal budget invested in housing but fell short in addressing the needs of those most impacted by the housing crisis
The Government of Canada announced its 2022 budget. Housing was among the top areas receiving investments during the pandemic recovery period, with a total of $1.95 billion dollars to be spent in 2022, and a spending promise of an additional $7.45 billion until 2027. Some of the housing investments were promising, however overall, the budget fell short in responding to the urgent housing needs of those most impacted by the housing affordability and homelessness crisis. Our analysis highlighted the key housing investments that have been made, as well as important gaps that remain.
- Report recommended how federal and provincial governments can support municipalities in addressing the housing crisis
A report by the Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto outlined how all levels of government must work together to address the housing crisis. The report focused on the crucial role of municipalities in addressing the housing and homelessness crisis, and how the federal, provincial and territorial governments should support municipalities in their efforts.
- The federal Liberal-NDP agreement included several housing priorities
The federal Liberal and NDP parties announced a new agreement to work together on a number of priorities until 2025. Addressing housing affordability was among the key issues that both parties agreed to work on together. Specifically, the parties agreed to:
- Tackle the financialization of housing.
- Extend the Rapid Housing Initiative for another year.
- Top-up the Canada Housing Benefit in 2022.
- Move forward on a Housing Accelerator Fund.
- Re-focus the Rental Construction Financing Initiative with a new definition of affordability.
- Canada’s first Federal Housing Advocate was appointed
On February 4, the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Honourable Ahmed Hussen, announced that Marie-Josée Houle was appointed as Canada’s Federal Housing Advocate, for a 3-year term. The Federal Housing Advocate’s role is key to ensuring that the government fulfills its commitment to advance the right to housing for all in Canada. This is a significant new mechanism to claim the right to housing in Canada, because it can ensure that affected groups participate and contribute to the realization of their right to housing. Learn more about the Advocate’s role and the other key mechanisms that are in place to advance the right to housing.
- Our Rights-based recommendations for the 2022 federal budget
CCHR submitted recommendations to the federal government to advance the right to housing through its 2022 budget in the following ways: developing and implementing an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy; enhancing supports for people experiencing homelessness; increasing investments in deeply affordable housing; promoting the construction of affordable purpose-built rental housing; protecting the existing affordable housing supply; assisting tenants and stabilizing their housing, and; adequately funding the mechanisms under the National Housing Strategy Act so that they can effectively carry out their mandates.
- Inuit leader called for the federal budget to address the Inuit housing crisis
Natan Obed, the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, called on the federal government to include increased investments in building and repairing thousands of housing units for Inuit communities in the federal 2022 budget. These communities have faced decades of severe issues related to overcrowding and substandard housing, which also contribute to spreading infectious diseases. Mr. Obed also called on the government to bring all housing programs impacting Inuit communities in line with international human rights law, and to deliver funds directly to Inuit organizations to administer themselves.
- The 2021 Rental Market Report revealed that housing is increasingly unaffordable
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its 2021 Rental Market Report, which highlighted that rental affordability continued to be a significant challenge across Canada, and that there is “an acute scarcity of rental options” for people living on lower incomes.
- The federal government announced housing investments to support Black households
The federal government announced that it would invest up to $50 million for Black-led organizations to build housing, as well as to fund affordable housing for Black renters. The government indicated that the reason for this investment was to address the high and disproportionate number of Black Canadians who are in core housing need and who pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
- The federal government proposed a 1% tax on foreign-owned vacant homes
The Underused Housing Tax Act proposed placing a tax on homes owned by non-residents of Canada that are empty, excluding vacation or recreational properties. Properties that are the primary residence of the owner, their partner or their children would also be exempt. The government estimated that $150 million could be raised per year through this tax, which could be used to build more affordable housing. The Act was part of the federal government’s proposed Bill C-8 which received Royal Assent in June 2022.
- Federal government provided funding to support low-income renters in housing co-operatives
The federal government announced funding of $118.2 million over seven years to reduce the monthly rent payments of low-income residents living in co-operative housing units.
- Report proposed a surtax on homes worth over $1 million
A report from Generation Squeeze proposed a federal surtax be placed on homes valued over $1 million when they are either sold or inherited. The report proposed that the funds earned through this tax be invested into affordable housing initiatives, including providing benefits for renters and building new purpose-built rental units and co-operative housing.
- The Auditor General reported that the federal government does not know if it’s reducing chronic homelessness
- New Brunswick government rejected the call to extend rent cap
The government rejected calls from housing advocates to extend the rent cap that was introduced earlier this year in response to rapid rent increases. Instead, the province tabled amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act that would link certain rent increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), if challenged by a tenant. Under the legislation, the Residential Tenancies Tribunal has the option to spread a rent increase over two or three years, if it’s more than the CPI. The legislation also removes “all-unit increases” as an acceptable reason for a rent increase. If a complaint is submitted, a landlord must prove that the new rent is reasonable compared to other units in the same geographic area, even if all the units in a building get the same increase. Jill Green, the Minister responsible for Housing and Service New Brunswick, argued that the bill strikes a balance between protecting tenants without dissuading housing developers. Housing advocates responded that removing the rent cap will leave tenants worse off. When faced with unfair rent increases, the legislation will put the onus on tenants to submit a challenge to the Residential Tenancies Tribunal if they want to receive relief. With tenants already receiving rent increases above the current cap, advocates worry that removing it will leave many tenants in a vulnerable position and unable to pay rising rents.
- Concerns were raised over housing affordability in Nova Scotia
A growing number of tenants in Nova Scotia shared that they face growing housing affordability challenges. According to data from Rentals.ca, asking rental prices in Atlantic Canada increased by 32.2% since last year. In October, Nova Scotians had the second-highest average rent in Canada at $2,443 a month. Though the province has a temporary 2% rent cap in place for existing leases, rent can be raised for a new lease if a tenant leaves or is evicted. These increases have been driven in part by a surge in immigration to the province during the pandemic which drove up demand in locations where housing options were limited. This has left many Nova Scotians in precarious financial positions, with 45% of households in cities like Halifax paying unaffordable rents. In response, advocates called on the province to prioritize housing affordability by increasing investments in public housing.
Prince Edward Island
- P.E.I. introduced legislation that will impact renters
The P.E.I. provincial government introduced several bills in November that will impact tenants in the province. Bill 80, introduced on November 1, 2022, limits allowable rent increases to 0% for 2023. The bill came in the wake of an announcement by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC), which planned to set the allowable rent increase for 2023 at 10.8% for oil-heated units and 5.23% for unheated units – the Commission’s highest rates on record. On November 15, 2022, the government tabled a new Residential Tenancy Act. Key measures in the bill include a 3% cap on rent increases starting in 2024, an extension to the notice period for renovictions from 60 days to six months, and a ban that prevents landlords from charging penalties on rent paid late. The bill also recognized housing as a human right. Housing advocates in P.E.I. said that there are several loopholes in the proposed legislation that put the security of tenure at risk for renters. Cory Pater with P.E.I. Fight for Affordable Housing, expressed concern that the bill allows landlords to apply for additional rent increases over the proposed 3% cap and permits the continued use of renovictions. Advocates are calling on the province to introduce a rental registry to protect tenants from illegal rent increases.
- New Brunswick Minister said the rent cap is not addressing rising unaffordability but housing advocates disagreed
Between January 1 and December 31, 2022, the New Brunswick government has implemented a rent cap, limiting rent increases to 3.8%. Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson argued that rent control deters investments in affordable housing. However, ACORN New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Coalition for Tenant Rights explained that removing the rent cap will leave lower income tenants vulnerable to high rent increases and make housing less secure.
Advocates called for a permanent 2% cap on rent increases to support the needs of renters in the province.
- Renovictions continued to displace tenants in Nova Scotia
Renovictions have increasingly become an issue in some of Canada’s major cities. Earlier this year, the provincial government of Nova Scotia lifted a temporary ban on renovictions. However, tenants across the province and housing advocates called on the government to strengthen protections for renters. The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights’ (CCHR) Director of Policy and Communications, Bahar Shadpour, stressed the importance of tracking renovictions in Nova Scotia and across Canada to capture the experience of the communities most impacted by renovictions and other forms of eviction.
- The Nova Scotia government unveiled details of a new housing agency
The Nova Scotia government introduced its Housing Supply and Services Act, which repealed and replaced the Housing Act and Housing Nova Scotia Act. The new legislation took effect on December 1 and is set to modernize the structure and improve the oversight of public housing programs, by centralizing the administration, management, and maintenance of public housing under a new Crown corporation, the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency. Its advisory board will answer to the Housing Minister, and all non-public housing programs will be transferred to the authority of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Housing organizations and advocates raised concerns over the Act, requesting changes that would ensure the Act is rights-based and supports the housing needs of lower income residents in the province. Read the submissions made by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in Nova Scotia and the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service.
- Tenants were anxious as New Brunswick’s temporary rent cap winded down
New Brunswick’s rent increase regulation of 3.8% introduced in January 2022 was set to expire in December. Tenant advocates feared exorbitant increases could lead to economic evictions of tenants who are unable to pay the rent increase. ACORN New Brunswick called for an overhaul of the Residential Tenancies Act, to ban renovictions and make rent control permanent and to tie rent increases to the unit as opposed to the tenant. They explained that these forms of rent control would help to disincentivize evictions.
- Gaps in Nova Scotia’s tenancy laws left renters in a precarious situation
Tenant advocates in Nova Scotia raised concerns around fixed term leases as vacancy rates remained low and as housing affordability became a chronic problem across the province. Current tenancy laws allow landlords to offer tenants a “fixed-term” lease with a start and end date with no automatic renewal. Landlords can choose not to renew the lease without any explanation, effectively terminating the tenant’s lease and leaving them with no recourse. Advocates have cited increasing instances of such lease terminations in light of a temporary two percent rent cap introduced by the provincial government in 2020. Since landlords are free to increase the rent without any restrictions for new tenants, there is an added incentive for some landlords to evict existing tenants who are on a fixed-term lease. Advocates called for more effective regulations that require landlords to offer tenants a new lease after the original lease expires, to make the rent increase guideline permanent and to add rent increase regulations to the unit instead of the tenant.
Prince Edward Island
- PEI’s highest ever rent hike permitted by its Regulatory and Appeals Commission provoked a backlash
PEI’s government vowed to fight the decision made by the independent Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission to set the annual rent cap for 2023 at 5.2% for unheated rental units and 10.8% for heated rental units. This would be the largest allowable rent hike on record since 1989. Over 200 tenants and 65 landlords made submissions to the Commission before the decision was made and there was great disappointment that the needs of tenants were not reflected in the final decision.
- Affordable Housing Commission claimed progress in Nova Scotia housing crisis
The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission released its last report, detailing the progress made by the province in addressing the need for affordable housing. The Commission said that 50 of the 17 recommendations and 60 actions in the 2021 report were completed or were close to completion. The report’s recommendations were the result of a public consultation process involving surveys, workshops, and engagement with academics, community organizations, and housing experts. Housing advocates in the province called on their governments to stop forced evictions, support those experiencing homelessness and address the growing housing crisis.
- More than 250 N.B. public housing units sat empty on average each month, despite wait list
Despite increasing need, affordable housing units across New Brunswick were sitting empty. In June 2022, the province had 227 vacant public housing units, nearly 6% of its total inventory. Another 133 units were vacant under the rent supplement program, where private landlords receive money to subsidize tenants’ rent based on household income. At the same time, the province’s wait list for affordable housing grew from about 5,000 households at the end of 2019 to 8,194 households. The reason for the high vacancy rates may have been in part due to gaps in funding to undertake maintenance and repairs of vacant units.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- N.L.’s housing crunch left renters ‘desperately’ looking for a place to live
A lack of availability and affordability were two problems facing prospective renters, with the rising cost of living taking larger chunks from people’s pay cheques. As a result, St. John’s has been seeing a rise in families experiencing homelessness, something that has historically not been an issue. As a result, there are no agencies in the city that specifically deal with family homelessness. Advocates worried that the situation may get worse due to a dramatic decrease in the province’s rental vacancy rate since 2020.
- Nova Scotia said it won’t try to justify housing discrimination against people with disabilities
Following a ruling from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission that the provincial government’s failure to offer “meaningful” access to housing for people with disabilities amounted to a violation of their basic rights, the government committed to negotiate a remedy. Advocates welcomed this move after concerns that the government might refer to Section 6 of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act to exempt itself from the ruling.
- Advocates said that New Brunswick’s proposed changes to tenancy law don’t go far enough to address the housing crisis
The New Brunswick Coalition for Tenants Rights said that the province’s proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act to cap rent increases at 3.8% should be a permanent measure, rather than the current proposal to remove the cap by the end of 2022. The Coalition and opposition parties also urged the government to amend the bill to address loopholes that allow landlords to increase the rent beyond the cap, and strengthen tenant protections against renovictions and lease terminations.
- Fredericton released Draft Affordable Housing Strategy with 13 key recommendations
The City of Fredericton developed a Draft Affordable Housing Strategy, based on an assessment of residents’ housing needs carried out in 2021. The strategy outlined 13 recommendations to increase affordable housing by increasing City staff capacity and expertise to address issues, revising zoning bylaws, supporting community housing organizations and projects, providing land, exploring taxation tools, requesting provincial support and legislative changes, and collaborating with other municipalities on similar issues. The City sought public feedback, and the strategy was presented to City Council in June.
- 2022 budget included a rent cap for tenants, protections against evictions, and a tax cut for landlords
In its 2022 budget, the Government of New Brunswick announced that rent increases for 2022 will be capped at 3.8%, with a possible extension of the cap beyond 2022. The government said the cap will be retroactive to January 1, 2022. However several concerns were raised that the new policy required legislation to be enforceable. The budget also indicated that tenants who are evicted without cause could be eligible for compensation and landlords may face a penalty.
- The City of Saint John requested urgent provincial intervention in supportive shelters
The City of Saint John requested help from the provincial government to consider the resources, supports and interventions that are needed to provide adequate shelters options for people experiencing homelessness with complex needs such as addictions and mental health challenges. The City raised concerns that these individuals are not able to safely stay at existing shelters, and needed additional supports from the provincial government.
- Frontline housing workers raised concerns over the lifting of the renovictions ban
A ban on renovictions was lifted on March 21 when the province’s state of emergency ended. The same day the ban ended, tenants from two 4-unit rental houses were notified by their new landlord that they were being “renovicted.” Earlier in the month, frontline workers warned that the lifting of the ban would cause a spike in people seeking emergency housing supports from a system that is already at capacity.
Prince Edward Island
- Charlottetown adopted new regulations for short-term rental units
Charlottetown City Council approved a bylaw to limit the types of housing units that are permitted to operate as short-term rentals in the city. The bylaw banned property owners from operating multiple short-term rental properties. Short-term rentals will only be allowed in primary residences.
- P.E.I.’s Official Opposition proposed that a new Residential Tenancy Act recognize housing as a human right
On February 22, the Green Party caucus, as P.E.I.’s Official Opposition, proposed to the Minister of Social Development and Housing that a new Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) should recognize housing as a human right, as a shift away from treating housing purely as a commodity. The Official Opposition proposed several other measures to be included in the RTA including a cap on rent increases, maintaining a moratorium on renovictions, and setting property-maintenance standards.
- Nova Scotia government sought to overturn court ruling that its housing practices were discriminatory to people with disabilities
Nova Scotia’s top court ruled that the province systematically discriminated against people with disabilities through unnecessary institutionalization, years-long wait lists for necessary supports, and requiring some to move to different communities to receive support.
- New Brunswick government rejected the call to extend rent cap
- Ontario passed Bill 23 amid criticism
Concerns about Bill 23, the Ontario Governments More Homes Built Faster Act, continued to grow throughout November. Over a hundred non-profits and housing groups wrote a letter to Premier Doug Ford expressing concerns about the bill’s impact on funding for affordable housing, the threat it poses to the existing housing supply, and its limits on inclusionary zoning policies. The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) joined several housing groups in making submissions on the bill to the Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy and deputed in person at Queen’s Park. In particular, CCHR was extremely concerned about the provisions that limit municipalities to preserve their existing affordable rental housing stock through demolition and conversion bylaws. Joining the growing chorus of concern, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Ontario Big City Mayors group, and the City of Toronto called the provincial government to eliminate provisions in the bill that would cut development charges and drastically reduce municipal revenues by $5 billion. Despite the range of criticism, Bill 23 was passed by the Ontario Government.
- Ontario boosted ‘strong mayor’ powers to fast-track housing development
The Ontario government introduced Bill 39, Better Municipal Governance Act, which allowed mayors in Toronto and Ottawa to pass by-laws with support from just one-third of their Council. The bill allows the provincial government to unilaterally appoint the Regional Council heads for Niagara, Peel and York regions and appoint facilitators to expand strong mayor powers to Durham, Halton, Peel, Niagara, and Waterloo. Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, argued that the changes were needed to address the province’s housing crisis and achieve the government’s goal of building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade. While several mayors expressed support for the move, Ontario’s opposition party along with municipal Councillors called the bill an “affront to democracy” by bringing in minority rule and eroding the ability of Councillors to represent their constituents. Despite the concerns expressed, the Bill received royal assent in early December.
- Les défenseurs du droit au logement lancent une tournée panquébécoise pour réclamer plus de logements sociaux
Les défenseurs du droit au logement basés au Québec se sont lancés dans une tournée provinciale pour exiger que la province construise plus de logements sociaux. Ils affirment que plusieurs projets de logements sociaux et abordables prévus ont été suspendus en raison d’un manque de financement de la part de la province. Ils demandent au gouvernement provincial de construire au moins 50 000 logements sociaux au cours des cinq prochaines années. Ils demandent également à la province d’allouer davantage de fonds au programme AccèsLogis, qui regroupe des ressources publiques, privées et communautaires pour construire des logements sociaux et abordables.
- Advocates launch cross-Quebec tour to demand more social housing
Advocates in Quebec have launched a province-wide tour to demand the province build more social housing. They claim that several planned social and affordable housing projects have been put on hold due to a lack of financing by the province. Advocates are calling the provincial government to build at least 50,000 social housing units over the next five years. They are also asking the province to direct more funding to the AccèsLogis program, which pools public, private and community resources to build social and affordable housing.
- Ontario proposes new legislation aimed at increasing housing supply
On October 25, Ontario’s provincial government tabled Bill 23, under its “More Homes Built Faster” plan. According to the government, the measures contained in this bill aim to speed up housing construction and will contribute to the province’s plan to build 1.5 million homes by 2031. The package of legislative changes will introduce gentle density across residential neighbourhoods, eliminate or reduce development charges and other fees for affordable, rental and non-profit housing, and reform processes at the Ontario Land Tribunal – amongst other measures.Diverse stakeholders have voiced concern over initiatives included in the bill. Housing advocates have highlighted that some measures will negatively impact both the current and future supply of affordable rental housing, for example proposed measures that would allow the province to override municipal housing protection by-laws and new rules limiting inclusionary zoning frameworks. Municipalities have argued that the proposed initiatives will also reduce municipal revenue streams that are currently invested in the construction and operation of affordable housing. We have summarized and analyzed some of the key initiatives proposed by Bill 23, with a focus on initiatives intended to impact current and future rental housing supply, reflecting that renter households in Ontario consistently experience the greatest housing need.
- Advocates call on the Ontario government to re-focus Bill 23 on those in greatest housing need
Housing advocates from across Ontario are sending a joint letter to the Government of Ontario to voice serious concern about its proposed housing bill – Bill 23. They are calling on the province to amend its legislation to focus on investing in affordable and deeply affordable housing and protecting households who are most in need of adequate housing. Individuals and organizations are invited to sign-on to this initiative.
- Ontarians voted in their municipal elections
On October 24, Ontarians voted in their municipal elections. In Toronto, John Tory secured a third term as Mayor. Tory has said that he regards housing as a top priority This is his first mandate where he can exercise strong-mayor powers, which will allow him to veto certain Council decisions. His proposed 5-step program would promote “missing middle” housing to expand housing options. In Ottawa, Mark Sutcliffe was elected as the new Mayor. He campaigned on a housing plan that promises to supply 1,000 community housing units every year for the next decade. The new Mayor of Waterloo, Dorothy McCabe, made environment and sustainable urban development the key drivers of her campaign, and committed to leveraging municipal land to build more affordable and accessible housing that is well-connected to active transportation, urban infrastructures and green spaces.
- Les Québécois ont choisi la continuité avec un autre mandat pour François Legault
Le premier ministre sortant du Québec et chef de la Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), François Legault, a été réélu lors d’une victoire écrasante le 3 octobre. Des défenseurs du droit au logement basés à Montréal ont critiqué les mesures d’austérité de Legault, et ont généralement été déçus par la réponse tiède de la campagne à la crise du logement. La CAQ a promis un investissement de 1,8 milliard de dollars pour construire 11 700 logements sociaux et subventionner 7 200 logements supplémentaires par des suppléments au loyer. Cependant, les coalitions de locataires le Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) et le Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) maintiennent qu’il faudrait au moins 50 000 nouveaux logements pour pouvoir offrir des logements abordables aux ménages à revenu faible et moyen. Le 20 octobre, Legault a nommé France-Elaine Duranceau, ancienne agente immobilière et comptable, comme nouvelle ministre responsable de l’Habitation. Cette démarche a été bien accueillie par les associations de locataires et les bailleurs associatifs, la création d’un ministère uniquement dédié au logement était une demande en suspens depuis longtemps.
- Quebecers chose continuity with another term for Francois Legault
Incumbent Quebec Premier and Leader of Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), François Legault, was re-elected in a sweeping victory. Montreal-based housing advocates criticized Legault’s austerity measures and were generally disappointed by the campaign’s lukewarm response to the housing crisis. The CAQ is promising an investment of $1.8 billion to build 11,700 social housing units and subsidize an additional 7,200 units through rent supplements. However, tenant coalitions le Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) and le Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ) argued that at least 50,000 new units are needed to provide housing that is affordable to low- to moderate-income households, including the 24,000 households registered on a waiting list for social housing. On October 20, Legault appointed France-Elaine Duranceau, a former realtor and accountant, as the new minister responsible for housing. This move was welcomed by tenant organizations and non-profit housing providers, as the creation of a Ministry solely dedicated to housing had been a long-time request of community actors.
- Une nouvelle politique métropolitaine en cours d’élaboration vise à répondre à la crise du logement à Montréal
En décembre 2021, la Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) a chargé sa Commission de l’habitation d’élaborer une Politique métropolitaine de l’habitation afin de faire face à la crise du logement dans la région la plus peuplée de la province. Une première ébauche a été présentée en juin et a fait l’objet d’une consultation publique en septembre, recueillant l’appui de plus de 50 intervenants en logement des secteurs communautaire, à but non lucratif, et privé.La nouvelle politique vise à assurer le logement abordable et à créer une offre suffisante, diversifiée et adaptée à l’évolution des besoins des résidents, et à créer des milieux de vie complets par une densification urbaine stratégique. La CMM prévoit peaufiner la politique en fonction des recommandations des parties prenantes avant son adoption finale à la fin de l’année.
- A new policy being developed aims to address Montreal’s housing crisis
In December 2021, the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) mandated its Housing Commission to develop a Metropolitan Housing Policy to address the housing crisis in the province’s most populous region. A first draft was presented in June and underwent public consultation in September, garnering support from over 50 housing stakeholders from the community, non-profit, and private sectors. The new policy seeks to ensure housing affordability, create supply that is sufficient, diverse and adapted to the changing needs of residents, and create complete living environments through strategic urban densification. The CMM plans to refine the policy based on stakeholders’ recommendations before its final adoption at the end of the year.
- Deaths among people experiencing homelessness in Toronto nearly doubled in 3 years
According to Toronto Public Health Data, deaths among people experiencing homelessness spiked from 128 in 2019 to 221 deaths in 2021. Since April, 92 people died with more than half of those deaths attributed to drug toxicity. An advocate for people experiencing homelessness sounded the alarm and called out the deepening housing crisis and the City’s approach to clearing encampments as factors that have driven many into isolation. Toronto Public Health noted that it has integrated harm reduction into City-based shelters and expanded mental health supports to 12 shelter hotels, and will continue to advocate for expanding these services.
- York Region moved forward with vacant homes tax plan
York Region’s council voted to ask staff to come up with a plan and draft bylaw to discourage property owners from leaving their homes vacant. As the benchmark house price reached about $1.3 million in June, the proposed policy would bring much needed supply into the housing market and could raise between $13.4 million to $26.8 million in revenues to help address the housing crisis. In fact, 88% of the public that were recently surveyed in the region supported the measure. Next steps will involve figuring out what exactly is defined as a vacant home and which of the nine municipalities in the region the policy would apply to.
- Ontario will need 1.5 million more homes by 2031
A report released by Smart Prosperity Institute applied a refined benchmark to effectively validate projections made by the Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force that the province will need to build 1.5 million homes over the next ten years. Furthermore, 48% of the demand for housing will come from Peel Region, York Region and the City of Toronto. However, these projections are 500,000 units higher than forecasts made to inform the provincial Growth Plan. This is a significant mismatch; surrounding communities may experience spillover demand as families look for more affordable options. While there are other projections available, such as CMHC’s significantly higher estimates, a more comprehensive plan to address bottlenecks to housing construction and the building of the right type of housing to meet varied housing demands is a priority.
- Des arrondissements Montréalais ont lutté contre les rénovictions dans les résidences privées pour aînés
Plusieurs arrondissements Montréalais étaient dans le processus d’introduire des mesures pour interdire la reconversion des résidences pour aînés en autre chose que du logement social. Cette requête fait suite à une motion passée par le Conseil de la Ville, qui en appelle au gouvernement provincial pour introduire un moratorium de un an sur la conversion des résidences pour aînés en blocs appartements. D’autres locataires ont amené les propriétaires en cour après qu’ils aient été sommés de quitter les lieux. Cependant, un représentant des propriétaires s’est plaint que leur décision de convertir ces résidences est justifiée par l’incapacité de ces operateurs à gérer la flambée des prix et les barrières administratives. Il n’existe pas de mesure d’aide telles que le crédit sur la taxe municipale. Un des maires d’arrondissement suggère que c’est la province qui devrait établir des solutions à long terme qui conviennent à tous. Pendant ce temps, la nouvelle administration de Hampstead a adopté un règlement qui oblige les promoteurs souhaitant faire des rénovations d’obtenir d’abord un permis. Ils peuvent l’obtenir en démontrant que le logement est vacant, ou dans le cas contraire, que le locataire donne son accord pour les travaux et que des alternatives lui sont offertes. Cette décision représente un changement radical par rapport à l’administration précédente, qui n’était pas favorable de telles mesures.
- Montreal boroughs fought back against renovictions
Several Montreal boroughs were in the process of introducing measures to forbid seniors’ residences from being converted into anything other than social or affordable housing. This followed a motion passed by Montreal’s City Council to call for the provincial government to introduce a one-year moratorium on converting seniors’ residents into apartment buildings. Other residents have taken their building owners to court after they were asked to move out. However, a representative for owners of seniors’ residents complains that the move towards conversion is a result of operators’ inability to handle escalating costs and red tape. There are no relief measures such as a municipal tax credit. A borough mayor suggested that it’s up to the province to come up with a longer-term solution that works for everyone. Meanwhile, a new administration in the upscale suburb of Hampstead in Montreal adopted a bylaw that will require developers who want to do renovations to first get a permit. They can obtain this by showing that the unit is vacant or if the tenant has agreed to the renovations in writing and that alternative living options or other arrangements have been provided to the tenant. The move is a departure from the past administration which was not supportive of such protective measures.
- Almost half of shelter-seekers turned away in Toronto
A study of central intake data from the City of Toronto between November 2020 and June 2022 found that nearly half of people seeking shelter (24,556 individuals) were turned away. The majority – 81% of cases, were turned away because no shelter space was available at the time. In 16% of cases, there was no space available that met the person’s needs, including for accessibility. The study questioned the City’s position that there are enough shelter beds in Toronto to support those experiencing homelessness, including residents of encampments.
- Housing advocates called on municipal candidates to take the Affordable Housing Pledge
Right to Housing Toronto, a network of individuals and organizational supporters including CCHR that advocate for the City of Toronto to adopt a human rights-based approach to housing, asked candidates for City Council to take the Affordable Housing Pledge. By taking the Pledge, candidates committed to deepen the City’s housing investments and ensure new homes are accessible to all, preserve existing affordable rental housing, ensure tenants have an active voice in the maintenance of their homes, expand eviction prevention supports, and facilitate ‘gentle densification’ of existing neighbourhoods.
- Utiliser les revenus du cannabis pour vaincre l’itinérance, un bon pari?
Le conseil municipal de Lachine a adopté une motion appelant la Province à accroitre le financement des services en itinérance en réinvestissant une partie des profits provenant de la Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC). Le maire de Lachine a déclaré que les $3 millions en financement provincial pour les infrastructures de soutien sont insuffisants pour résoudre la crise de l’itinérance dans l’arrondissement. Les ventes de la SQDC sont en hausse continue, avec des profits enregistrés de $75 millions en 2022, contre $66 millions en 2021 et $26 millions en 2020.
- Montreal’s Lachine borough proposes homelessness funding come from cannabis sales
Montreal’s Lachine borough council passed a motion calling on the province to increase funding for homelessness services by drawing from revenue from the province’s cannabis retailer, the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC). The Lachine mayor argued that the $3 million in provincial funding for public works is insufficient to tackle the ballooning homelessness crisis in the borough. The SQDC’s sales have continued to rise, with profits of $75 million reported in 2022, from $66 million in 2021 and just $26 million in 2020.
- Vivre en Ville publie un index de solutions pour contrer la crise du logement au Québec
Vivre en Ville – une organisation à but non-lucratif œuvrant pour le développement urbain durable à Montréal – a récemment publié un rapport détaillant des solutions ciblées pour contrer les causes profondes de la crise du logement qui sévit à travers la Province. L’index Portes Ouvertes indique que près de 200,000 ménages québécois dépensent plus de la moitié de leurs revenus pour leur logement – le manque d’options abordables est exacerbé par le fait que les taux de vacance demeurent très bas, et 57% des unités de logement nécessitent des réparations majeures. L’index offre plusieurs recommandations, tournées vers la de-financialisation des marchées du logement, la taxation des projets du marché privé, l’accroissement du stock de logement social, la création d’un secteur de la construction résilient et la mise en place d’actions collectives pour faire face au « pas dans ma cour », ou NIMBYisme.
- Montreal organization, Vivre en Ville, released index of solutions to Quebec housing crisis
Vivre en Ville, a research and education non-profit that works on sustainable urban development issues in Montreal, released a report detailing solutions to the housing problems plaguing the province. The report notes that almost 200,000 Quebec households spend more than 50% of their income on rent, area municipalities have very low vacancy rates, and a staggering 57% of units in Montreal are in need of major repairs. Portes Ouvertes recommends the de-financialization of housing markets, increased taxation of private developers and providers, increasing social and non-profit housing supply, the creation of a sustainable building sector, and action to prevent NIMBYism.
- Toronto looked to all levels of government to address rising rents and curb renovictions
Toronto’s top housing official called on the province to tie rent control rules to residential units, rather than the tenants who inhabit them — arguing the change could help curb the financial incentive for landlords to evict long-term renters. Paired with initiatives undertaken at the municipal level, these changes would increase security of tenure by disincentivizing renovictions and other predatory practices by landlords. Earlier in the month, Toronto City Council voted in favor of a Renoviction Policy to guide the development of a new by-law to preserve affordable and mid-range rental housing in the city and deter renovictions. CCHR recommended that, while the policy directions are promising, further details are needed to understand the full application and impact of the City’s approach.
- Ontario set the 2023 rent increase at 2.5 per cent
The provincial government set the maximum amount a landlord can raise the rent for an existing tenant at 2.5% in 2023, which is the highest amount since 2013. The rent increase guideline applies to most renters in Ontario who are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act. However it does not apply to vacant units, community housing, long-term care homes, or units that were first occupied after November 15, 2018.
- Toronto’s Rent Bank program becomes permanently grant-based
Toronto City Council voted in favour of converting its Rent Bank program to offer grants on a permanent basis, moving away from their previous repayable loans model. This move will help lower income residents cover deposits or pay their rent. Several advocates expressed their support for this move while encouraging the City to consider strengthening the program in the future. CCHR recommended that the City increase funding and make the eligibility criteria more inclusive, while also protecting the existing stock of affordable housing and creating new affordable housing options for lower income residents to reduce the need for rent relief in the long run.
- Ottawa City Council endorses approaches to implementing Inclusionary Zoning and Renovictions
Ottawa City Council adopted an Inclusionary Zoning framework, committing that Staff would report back to Council with a proposed Inclusionary Zoning bylaw in 2023. The framework sought to strike balance between keeping developments viable and creating a meaningful number of affordable units. At the same meeting, Council adopted a strategy to address renovictions, including a commitment to assess the feasibility of establishing a by-law prohibiting the demolition and conversion of residential rental housing of six or more units, drawing on best practices established through Toronto’s Demolition and Conversion By-law. Council requested Staff to report back with recommendations on developing a similar by-law for Ottawa, also in 2023. The Right to Housing Ottawa Coalition provided two submissions on adopting a rights-based approach to the City’s Renovictions and Inclusionary Zoning policies, urging Council to prioritize those in the greatest housing need in the development of these policies.
- Affordable housing was a top issue during Ontario’s provincial election
All of Ontario’s main parties made various election campaign promises to address the province’s affordable housing crisis. While all parties say they would prioritize boosting the supply of housing, the parties diverged on a range of issues impacting renters. Many advocates – including CCHR’s Director of Policy and Communications, Bahar Shadpour – emphasized the need to prioritize Ontarians in greatest need and protect the province’s current affordable housing stock. The election results saw the Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives winning a second majority government.
- Hamilton voted to add inclusionary zoning to the City’s Official Plan
Hamilton’s Planning Committee voted unanimously in favour of adding inclusionary zoning in the City’s Official Plan, to require that housing developments built along the City’s upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) route set aside a portion of units to be affordable.
- The Region of Peel set up a working group to design its inclusionary zoning system
Peel Region established a working group to design the region’s inclusionary zoning system, which is expected to create 200 new affordable housing units for low- and moderate-income households each year. The administration of the system will be managed by the Region of Peel, and the working group will be looking into how to set up various aspects of the system including the resale of affordable units, regulating access, ensuring their long-term affordability, and matching residents with units.
- New bill proposed to strengthen protections for seniors from being evicted
The Quebec Solidaire opposition party proposed legislation to prevent the eviction of seniors over the age of 65 who have lived in the same apartment for more than five years. This would change the current rule that prevents eviction of seniors over 70 who have lived in the same unit for 10 or more years. Advocates said the bill should be further strengthened to also prevent seniors’ residences from being converted into regular rental units.
- Government of Ontario passed new legislation to respond to the affordable housing crisis
The Ontario government passed Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022, which amended five pieces of provincial and municipal legislation to speed up housing developments. CCHR submitted a series of rights-based recommendations that outlined several ways to address the affordable housing crisis by encouraging the province to take a collaborative approach in its housing policy developments, empowering municipalities in their efforts to deliver affordable housing, and investing in non-profit affordable housing.
- Peel Region sought input on a potential Vacant Home Tax
The Region of Peel conducted a survey and two public consultation sessions to gather input from residents on a Vacant Home Tax – a policy that could help to curb speculative activity in the real estate market. Revenues collected through the tax could also help to fund affordable housing initiatives in the region.
- The City of Toronto planed to convert a portion of city-owned buildings into affordable housing
On April 6, 2022, Toronto City Council unanimously voted to convert eight of its properties, most of which are office spaces, into affordable housing. This would add between 500 to 600 units for rent or purchase in downtown and midtown Toronto. Advocates said this move could act as a model for other governments to convert their real estate portfolio and unused office space into affordable housing.
- Advocates called on the Quebec government to create a rent registry
In the face of rising rents, the Coalition of Housing Committees and Tenant Associations of Quebec (RCLALQ) called on the Quebec government to create a rent registry so that prospective tenants could see the amount of rent that the previous tenant paid for the same unit.
- Ottawa adopted a Vacant Unit Tax to encourage an increase in the housing supply
Ottawa City Council adopted a one per cent Vacant Unit Tax for non-primary residences that are left vacant for more than 184 days in a year. The tax is intended to encourage homeowners to maintain, occupy or rent their properties – instead of leaving them vacant – to increase the housing supply. Several exemptions would be permitted, which have drawn critiques from some housing groups. The City estimated that the tax could generate roughly $6.6 million per year, which would be used to fund affordable housing. The tax will come into effect in 2023.
- Toronto city staff recommend closing five COVID-19 temporary shelters
In its COVID-19 Shelter Transition and Relocation Plan, City of Toronto staff are recommending that up to five temporary shelters be decommissioned in 2022, with more sites likely to be closed in 2023 as part of the transition plan. If passed by Council next month, this would result in the removal of 40% of the city’s shelter capacity.
- Cornwall considered a new by-law to prevent renovictions
Cornwall City Council agreed to ask city staff to prepare a feasibility report for a new by-law that would limit the number of tenants that landlords who own multiple units can evict at one time to do renovations. This move from City Council came one month after a corporate landlord served all 92 units at an apartment complex with “renoviction” notices.
- Advocates called on the Government of Quebec to recognize the right to housing
A group of over 500 organizations and individuals led by the Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain (FRAPRU) called on the Government of Quebec to recognize the right to housing in its housing policy and the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The group also called on the government to include substantial investments in social housing in its 2022 budget, and to implement new regulations to address renovictions, short-term rentals, and real estate speculation.
- Proposed amendments to Ontario’s Housing Services Act through a rights-based approach
CCHR submitted recommendations to the Ontario government’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding its proposed amendments to the Housing Services Act (HSA). The HSA is a piece of legislation that sets out rules related to subsidized housing in the province. We provided a set of rights-based recommendations related to how the HSA governs Service Agreements between affordable housing providers and service managers, adjustments needed to improve service level standards, and the equitable management of social housing waiting lists. The province since introduced the new regulatory framework which the cooperative housing sector called a positive and important step in ensuring the sustainability of the community housing sector. The regulatory changes will come into full effect by July 2023.
- Advocates raised concern over inadequate resources in Toronto’s 2022 budget to tackle the housing crisis
The City of Toronto approved its 2022 operating and capital budget. CCHR joined nearly 60 organizations and called on the City to increase investments to address multiple crises – including housing and homelessness – that low- and moderate-income residents were experiencing by living in an increasingly expensive and under-resourced city. CCHR also submitted recommendations for the City to better reflect its commitment to realize the right to housing by using a rights and equity-based lens when making financial commitments.
- Advocates in York Region discussed policy needs for a post-pandemic recovery
Over 90 participants joined an event hosted by the Social Planning Council of York Region to discuss the policies needed to address a range of issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. CCHR suggested several policies to tackle the decades-long housing crisis that has worsened during the pandemic. We recommended increases to the supply of affordable purpose-built rental housing, increasing social housing, and preserving our existing affordable housing stock.
- Toronto asked the Ontario government to introduce a new tax to curb housing speculation and flipping
Toronto City Council voted in favour of asking the Ontario government to introduce a Home Speculation and Home Flipping Tax to curb the escalating cost of real estate driven by home flippers and land speculators in Toronto, which is also contributing to increasing the cost of housing across the province. This aimed at tackling the financialization of housing, which works hand in hand with the City’s adoption of a Vacant Home Tax. Relatedly, recent census data showed that vacant homes have increased in Toronto over the past five years, whereas they have declined in Vancouver where a vacant home tax and anti-speculation measures have been in place for a longer period.
- A new provincial affordable housing program was launched
The Quebec government announced a new program, called the Programme d’habitation abordable Québec (PHAQ), which will provide for-profit housing developers with subsidies if they commit to build affordable housing units which are held at the median market rate for at least 15 years. Advocates have expressed concern that the program does not address the needs of some of the most vulnerable groups, such as low-income tenants, and that the government has not been clear as to whether the new program would replace another subsidized housing program, AccèsLogis.
- Ontario government met with municipalities to address the housing crisis
Premier Doug Ford and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, met with municipal leaders from across the province to discuss the housing crisis, with a primary focus on increasing the supply of housing. Following the meeting, the Mayor of Barrie and the Chair of Ontario’s Big City Mayors caucus, Jeff Lehman, called for additional measures from the province to address other issues, including the increasing cost of rent. People who work in the housing sector in rural, remote and Northern municipalities also called on the provincial government to address the unique challenges experienced in their regions.
- Rights-based recommendations for the City of Toronto’s 2022 Operating and Capital Budgets
The City of Toronto launched its 2022 Staff Recommended Operating and Capital Budgets, which included investments in shelters and housing, among other key services. CCHR submitted recommendations for the City to better reflect its commitment to realize the right to housing by using a rights and equity-based lens when making financial commitments. Specifically, we called on the City to better enforce property standards by improving the efficacy of the RentSafeTO program, and to dedicate more resources to eviction prevention services and programs. We also encouraged the City to continue investing in maintaining its social housing stock.
- Ontario passed Bill 23 amid criticism
- Alberta Tenants Called for Rental Caps and Registry Amid Soaring Housing Costs
The Alberta ACORN chapter held rallies outside of Boardwalk REIT’s head office in Calgary to demand measures for rent control in the province. The group were concerned with rising rent prices, where rents for a one-bedroom rental in Calgary has increased by more than 27% in the past year, one of the biggest hikes in the country. Advocates say that the lack of protections for tenants is forcing more people than ever before to struggle to keep a roof over their heads. The Calgary Residential Rental Association responded to these calls, claiming that rent controls are not needed. They claimed that the province has some of the most affordable rents in the country and that rent controls would deter investors and the private sector from building new housing.
- BC Premier Introduced Measures to Address Housing Affordability
David Eby, the new Premier of British Columbia, announced two bills aimed at addressing the province’s housing affordability crisis. Bill 43, Housing Supply Act, will require the fastest-growing communities – estimated at eight to ten municipalities – to establish housing targets in consultation with the province. If communities are not meeting the targets set under the new legislation, the province could issue directives or recommend compliance measures. The Premier also proposed amendments to the province’s Strata Property Act that would ban age-based restrictions in condominium properties. These restrictions make it difficult for families to find housing and force people to move if they have children. The amendments will also ban restrictions that prevent strata owners from renting out their units, which can potentially turn thousands of empty units into homes for renters. Bill 43 passed in late November. Advocates say that the measures are a step in the right direction but call on the province to expand measures that prevent illegal evictions and to establish controls that regulate how much rent can be increased to a subsequent renter when a unit becomes vacant.
- Manitoba advocates raised alarm about extreme rent increases
Housing advocates in Manitoba raised the alarm as the Residential Tenancies Branch has permitted landlords to raise rents by an average of 9% in 2022. Despite the province’s rent control guidelines being set at 0%, landlords have been extremely successful in applying for above-guideline rent increases (AGIs). Advocates said these increases are compounding the housing affordability crisis in Manitoba by contributing to “economic evictions.” They called on the provincial government to strengthen rent regulations to protect lower income tenants and the affordability of rental housing in Manitoba.
- Saskatchewan government faced criticism over social housing supply
The Government of Saskatchewan faced criticism over its management of the province’s social housing supply. Stories of vermin infestations in housing units in Saskatoon and an explosion at a vacant housing unit in Regina, have raised concerns about the current state of social housing units run by the province. The NDP, the province’s official opposition party, said that years of government neglect and the inability of residents to qualify for housing has left 3,000 social units vacant across the province. Advocates said that the high vacancy rate in social housing is particularly problematic with housing affordability issues and homelessness on the rise and several exposure deaths being reported as temperatures drop.
- Changes in utility rates and income assistant programs contributing to rise in evictions
The recent rise in rental and utility costs across Saskatchewan — on top of increasing inflation — is leading to an increase in evictions among lower-income renters. In 2022, the province’s electricity (SaskPower) and natural gas (SaskEnergy) providers announced rate increases of 17% and 4% respectively, with additional increases planned for 2023 and 2024. This was compounded by an average 10% to 15% increase in rental costs over the last year as landlords. Advocates said that as temperatures cool down, these rate increases are increasingly forcing lower income renters into precarious financial positions. Many tenants are falling into arrears that may result in eviction, if unpaid. This trend has been exacerbated by changes to Saskatchewan’s social assistance programs. Prior to 2019, the cost of basic utilities was covered by the province and paid directly to utility providers, ensuring recipients did not fall into arrears. However, the implementation of the Saskatchewan Income Support Program (SIS) in 2019 wrapped utility coverage into the province’s shelter allowance and transferred the responsibility for payment to recipients, except in extreme cases. Advocates are concerned that lower income tenants are being forced to choose between paying rent, food or utilities. In response, they have called on the province to support lower income tenants by reinstating a utility benefit paid directly to utility providers.
- The Alberta government announced new funding to address homelessness and addiction support services
The Government of Alberta pledged $187 million in funding to address homelessness and strengthen support for people struggling with addiction over the next two years. The announcement confirmed that $124 million will be invested to build “recovery” communities in Edmonton and Calgary, with increased and diversified support services for people struggling with addictions, and $63 million to be invested in expanding 24/7 winter shelter spaces in priority communities. While the funding targets have been criticized by the opposition for failing to provide permanent shelter solutions, some shelter organizations in downtown Edmonton hope that this initiative stays on course “no matter who wins the next UCP election.”
- A wave of government changes swept across B.C. municipalities
Residents across British Columbia voted in municipal elections on October 22. Housing and public safety were identified as top priorities by the newly elected mayors in Vancouver, Victoria, Surrey and Kelowna. In Vancouver, the new Mayor Ken Sim’s plan included an annual investment of $20 million to fund police and mental health services, and a push to create co-op housing and fast-track housing development. The Vancouver Mayor’s ABC party also won the majority of seats at Council.
- Advocates urged the government to address the root causes of homelessness
Advocates in Winnipeg called on the next government to address the root causes of homelessness and create more support services for people struggling with addiction. This confirms the findings of a recent poll, showing that the great majority of Winnipeggers are in favour of providing sanctioned encampments and safe consumption sites. During the election campaign, the platforms of candidates running for Mayor and Councillors also reflected the focus on addressing the root causes of poverty.
- Advocates called on the City of Regina to take action to solve the homelessness crisis
Advocates and Rally Around Homelessness circulated a petition calling on the City of Regina to commit to ending homelessness. Since promising to rapidly build supportive housing in November 2021, the City has made little progress towards that goal and those experiencing homelessness will have to wait longer to find housing. The petition calls for more concrete action and an itemized budget by the end of the year.
- New Edmonton supportive housing complexes ready for tenants but remained vacant
About 60 units in two new supportive housing complexes remained vacant in Edmonton, while a local housing agency, Homeward Trust, was working to understand how to best operate these units without the funding support it needed from the province. The homes were expected to house people experiencing mental health and addiction challenges and are part of 5 other projects funded by the City of Edmonton and through the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative. In addition, three hotels are in the process of being converted to offer 243 more units. Provincial reluctance to support these housing options left the housing agency without supports. A local Councillor noted that it is important to provide supportive housing as a longer term option which is more cost effective than emergency shelter responses.
- B.C. capped rent increases for 2023 to 2%
As part of a variety of measures to tackle inflation, the B.C. government announced that rent increases will be capped at 2% in 2023. While rent increases were frozen in 2021 because of the pandemic, earlier caps had been tied to inflation. The maximum allowable increase for the coming year disappointed tenant advocates who fear that the cap may incentivize landlords to evict tenants and substantially increase rents for newer tenants given that the rent caps are only applied to tenants, and not the unit. They said stronger vacancy control legislation is needed to complement the current rent caps.
- Canada provided $1.4 billion in loans to support BC First Nations construct 3,000 rental homes
The federal government provided a $1.4 billion loan to Vancouver’s Squamish Nation to help finance the construction of 3,000 homes in Sen̓áḵw, lands that were recently reclaimed by the Squamish Nation. The loan from CMHC, the largest in Canadian history, will finance the first two phases of a four-phase project that will eventually consist of 6,000 rental units and 1,200 homes. The terms of the CMHC loans received criticism for not including more stringent affordability criteria. Under the current agreement, 20% of the new rental developments in the first two phases will be below market rent but may not provide the deeply affordable rental housing that the community needs. The Squamish Nation’s Council Chair noted that without the loan it would not have been feasible to construct any rental units.
- Vancouver and Hogan’s Alley Society agreed to set up a community land trust in a historically Black neighbourhood
The City of Vancouver and the Hogan’s Alley Society reached an agreement to create a community land trust and a mixed-use redevelopment at a site in Strathcona, in downtown Vancouver. The Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood was home to Vancouver’s Black community during the first half of the twentieth century. However, city officials neglected to maintain the basic infrastructure of the neighbourhood and over the course of the 1960s, the area was demolished to make way for an overpass as part of a general trend of “urban renewal” across North America that displaced many Black communities to accommodate expansion of transport and other infrastructure. The Community Land Trust is the latest move in attempting to redress such injustices through taking land out of the private market and placing it in the hands of the community to be used as a resource to serve “vulnerable members of our diverse city community.”
- Alberta government expanded temporary rent assistance program:
The Alberta Government expanded rental assistance to more households across the province. The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit (TRAB) will include more than 80 communities across Alberta. The TRAB offers eligible Albertans a minimum of $100 per month to help them cover their rent payments.
- Human Rights Commissioner called for ‘social condition’ protections
After the attacks on unhoused people in BC, including the murder of two people in July, the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner repeated her calls to include ‘social condition’ in the Human Rights Code as a protected class. This would prohibit discrimination based on economic condition, including housing status, employment (or lack of), source of income and other factors. Several other provinces and territories include social condition in their human rights codes, including Manitoba, New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories and Quebec.
- City of Vancouver faced legal setback in setting limits on SRO rent increases
The B.C. Supreme Court quashed new by-laws created by the City of Vancouver which limited rent increases between tenants in single occupancy housing (also known as SROs). The new rules are meant to stabilize rents in single-room occupancy housing where those with the lowest incomes live by limiting rent increases on turnover relative to the rate of inflation, depending on the existing rent. The judge ruled that the City by-law was outside the authority of the City of Vancouver to implement and that the Residential Tenancy Act governs residential rents in the province. The City has appealed the decision.
- Manitoba government increased social assistance for the first time in years
The Manitoba government announced a ‘Family Affordability Package’ to ease the burden of inflation of Manitobans. The package included $63 million for families with children who earn less than $175,000 but also earmarked $16 million for seniors earning less than $40,000; both groups will receive a one-time payment. People living on Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) will receive a small increase to their Basic Needs Benefit amounting to about $8 million; EIA recipients without children will get $50 more per month and EIA disability recipients will get another $25 per month. The increase is the first raise in social assistance rates in years. Advocates called for a larger increase to ensure EIA recipients can afford rising rents and other expenses necessary to live a dignified life.
- Students looked for accommodation with University of Calgary residences already full
With university residences full and limited housing availability in the city, the University of Calgary Students Union is looking for alternative housing options for students. The president of the Students Union urged Calgarians to consider renting a room to a student this fall. “The current rental market is tight and what’s available often costs more than what students can afford: this is an access and affordability issue.”
- Indigenous Housing Providers in BC are redefining options for supportive housing, with notable results
Research funded by CMHC and SSHRC explored the transformative impact of culturally appropriate supportive housing for Indigenous people transitioning out of homelessness. The Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness (ACEH) opened British Columbia’s first Culturally Supportive Housing in 2020. Its Dual Model of Housing Care (DMHC) provides both culturally supportive housing and decolonized harm reduction. Going beyond housing provision, they provide pathways to healing rooted in culture, land-based programming and family reunification. The model aims to address some of the systemic barriers Indigenous people face when accessing supportive housing, providing a more culturally appropriate pathway to healing and housing stability.
- City of Vancouver adopts its first comprehensive land-use strategy, the Vancouver Plan
For the first time in the city’s history, Vancouver developed a “comprehensive direction” for future growth that was coordinated with other levels of government. The approved Vancouver Plan introduces a new way for the city to grow by allowing more housing options across all neighbourhoods, while restoring ecosystems and building more transit-oriented communities. It commits to significantly boost the supply of social and supportive housing and support Indigenous-led housing and wellness projects. In its submission, CCHR recommended that Council use the Plan to expand robust renter protections across the city, facilitate non-profit and social housing development, and open all neighbourhoods to diverse housing options, including low rise apartments. These recommendations have been taken up by Council in the adopted Plan.
- Winnipeg needs much more affordable housing to combat homelessness: advocates
Advocates for Winnipeg’s residents who are experiencing homelessness said that without more efforts to create and offer low-income and affordable housing in the city, more people will experience homelessness. Two years after releasing their own strategy to combat and understand homelessness, End Homelessness Winnipeg (EHW) said that they continue to see high numbers of people in the city living on the streets and seeking emergency shelter. While emergency shelters offer temporary support, they do not address the core issue: the number of people in need of affordable housing in Winnipeg far outstrips what is available. More affordable housing is urgently needed to meet demand, including low-income, low-barrier, Indigenous-led housing options.
- City Mayors called for a review of the province’s social housing program
Mayors from Saskatchewan’s cities called for a review of the province’s social housing program, specifically its eligibility criteria, as thousands of affordable housing units sat vacant. The City Mayors’ Caucus released a media announcement calling on the Provincial government to address the chronic gap between community needs and available housing supply.
- Vancouver approved a plan to increase density along its Broadway corridor
After weeks of consultation, Vancouver City Council passed its “Broadway Plan”, which proposes to increase the density and variety of housing types in the area, including affordable housing, around an important transit hub. Some important elements include measures to protect existing tenants and prevent them from being displaced from their neighbourhoods.
- Saskatchewan expanded its housing benefit program but advocates said that gaps remain
The Saskatchewan Housing Benefit was made available to renters who pay 35% or more of their pre-tax housing income on rent. The benefit amount and asset eligibility limit were also increased, and rent limits were removed. The government said that these changes will allow more low-income households to receive the benefit. However, advocates said the expansion does not go far enough as several vulnerable groups remained ineligible to receive support, including people who receive other government assistance, residents in social housing programs, sponsored newcomers, and post-secondary students.
- Calgary considered launching a Housing and Affordability Task Force and Housing Security Commission
Calgary’s Executive Committee approved a proposal that the City of Calgary should look into setting up a Housing and Affordability Task Force which would recommend how to increase, measure and manage affordable housing across the city. The Committee supported looking at different Housing Security Commission models to work with supportive housing providers, emergency shelters, and the provincial and federal governments – among other partners – to improve housing outcomes for people seeking supportive housing. The Task Force met earlier in the fall.
- Indigenous housing organization called on the federal government to fund its Indigenous housing strategy
The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) – which oversees Indigenous housing and service providers in B.C. – said that over 20,000 Indigenous housing units are needed over the next 10 years. AHMA called on the federal government to invest $7.3 billion to implement a strategy to build and repair housing that is culturally appropriate for Indigenous people across the province.
- The City of Edmonton proposed a new strategy to address growing homelessness and encampments
City staff presented a new plan to address homelessness and encampments in Edmonton, where the number of people experiencing homelessness more than doubled during the pandemic. The plan includes a new Indigenous-led team to provide outreach support, and other outreach teams to support people into bridge housing and temporary units. The City expects the number of people who are sleeping outdoors will continue to grow. This is in part because provincial pandemic emergency shelter funding ended in March, which resulted in a 44% drop in the number of available shelter spaces.
- Victoria passed new legislation to speed up the construction of affordable housing
Victoria City Council passed new legislation that will speed up the construction of housing projects that are owned and managed by non-profits, co-operatives or government agencies. Projects that meet the City’s community plan and design guidelines will be allowed to bypass the City Council and go directly to the Director of Sustainable Planning for approval.
- Vancouver will increase its Empty Homes Tax to 5% in 2023
Vancouver City Council unanimously voted to increase the Empty Homes Tax to 5% in 2023, and directed City staff to investigate the possibility of increasing it to 10% in the future. This followed the Mayor’s announcement made earlier in the month that the 3% tax raised $32 million to be invested in affordable housing projects, and reduced the number of vacant homes in Vancouver.
- Provincial and municipal governments were at odds on how to address housing supply
BC’s Housing Minister said that the province is considering legislation to override municipalities that refused to approve new social housing or housing developments near transit. The statement prompted a response from the Union of BC Municipalities, in the form of a controversial report, contesting the claim that the province’s housing crisis can be attributed to a shortage of housing supply. The exchange highlighted an ongoing debate in the province on how to address the housing affordability crisis and which level of government holds responsibility.
- Stakeholder engagement report on homelessness was released
As part of the development of its homelessness strategy, the Government of Manitoba released a new report summarizing feedback from community stakeholders on homelessness in the province, with a focus on nine themes: housing, income, other services, transitions, prevention, service delivery, non-profit funding, private sector’s role and accountability. The report was meant to help inform the government’s new homelessness strategy, released in 2022.
- B.C.’s 2022 budget increased investments in housing but major gaps remained
The B.C. government released its 2022 budget, with increased investments in housing & homelessness prevention. Specifically, the budget dedicated funds aimed at preventing homelessness through the provision of rent supplements to stabilize housing, wraparound services for youth in or aging out of care, and housing sites for people with complex needs. It also invested in research to identify the unique needs of women experiencing homelessness, including Indigenous women, women of colour and transgender persons. The budget also dedicated funds to build affordable housing, with the majority going toward the development of mixed-income rental housing for low-income families and seniors. However, advocates highlighted gaps in the budget related to Indigenous housing, supports for people with disabilities and a lack of an acquisition strategy to protect existing affordable housing.
- First-ever BC Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy released
The Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA) published the province’s first strategy aimed at filling gaps in the National Housing Strategy by protecting the housing rights of all Indigenous peoples residing in urban, rural and Northern communities in British Columbia. The strategy was based on an assessment of Indigenous housing needs for the next 10 years, and strategic actions focused on securing funding, increasing housing units and affordability, creating safe, supportive, and culturally appropriate environments, and cultivating Indigenous housing expertise. AHMA indicated that implementation of the strategy is dependent on federal and provincial funding and resourcing.
- Alberta Tenants Called for Rental Caps and Registry Amid Soaring Housing Costs
- Federal Housing Advocate explored systemic housing issues in Northern visit
Canada’s Federal Housing Advocate travelled to communities in Nunavut Canada to hear from communities about their housing and living conditions. She called the housing situation in the North a reflection of an ongoing human rights failure. She pointed to the housing challenges faced by Inuit communities such as people living in inaccessible, inadequate, overcrowded, unaffordable and unhealthy housing. The Office of the Federal Housing Advocate will release a report in the new year with recommendations to be implemented in order to advance the right to housing of Inuit communities.
- New data showed that housing in Inuit communities has worsened in recent years
Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census showed that a third of the Inuit communities of Inuit Nunangat – a traditional territory covering Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec, and Labrador – still live in inadequate, overcrowded and dangerous housing conditions. The housing situation in these communities has worsened since the last Census in 2016, with an increase of 1.2% of dwellings in need of major repairs in Inuit Nunangat. A study in 2019 found that poor living conditions were at the root of the disproportionately high rates of tuberculosis among Inuit communities. Housing in these communities has been underfunded and neglected. More than $3 billion is needed in the next 10 years to address the housing needs of Inuit Nunangat communities, according to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, an organization representing Inuit peoples in Canada.
- Advocates campaigned to bring attention to poverty and homelessness in Yukon
The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition launched its annual Poverty and Homelessness Action Week. The campaign focused on healing and building relationships and highlighted the need to address the trauma that people experiencing homelessness face on a daily basis, who are disproportionately First Nations people. The National Director for Campaign 2000 said that while Yukon experiences similar housing issues seen throughout Canada, the territory faces unique challenges related to geographic disparities and services that are spread out and difficult for people to access. Wohlfarth Levins, an advocate with Voices Influencing Change, called on the City of Whitehorse to speed up development processes for affordable housing projects, and called on the City to work with advocates to contribute their expertise toward finding solutions.
- Yukon government released Draft Housing Plan
In response to a scathing Auditor General report that criticized the Territorial government’s response to housing need in the territory, the Yukon government released a draft housing plan. The plan was yet to be finalized, and the government said it will consult with First Nations, Indigenous organizations, municipalities and both for and not-for-profit housing organizations. Advocates called on the government to address the private rental market in addition to the social housing system, and to act with the urgency the local housing crisis required.
- It’s time for Indigenous-led solutions to public housing in the North
Advocates argued that Indigenous peoples should have more authority to make decisions when it comes to housing in their communities, in line with Canada’s promises of Truth and Reconciliation, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and other commitments. Nowhere is this more evident than in the north, where public housing does not meet community needs. Under the current system, if northerners move south in pursuit of higher education – something they are frequently forced to do with limited educational opportunities locally – they are removed from public housing waitlists and will not have access to affordable housing upon return. Public housing policies also lack cultural sensitivity by banning pets and prohibiting home based businesses, while the system fails to account for Indigenous cultural practices around multi-generational housing, leading to frequent overcrowding. The solution is a greater control by Indigenous Communities of the public housing system and culturally appropriate service provision.
- Gwich’in communities will be consulted on how a federal housing and infrastructure investment should be spent
The Gwich’in Tribal Council planned to consult Gwich’in communities to hear their priorities for how $25 million should be spent to address their critical housing and infrastructure needs. Grand Chief Ken Kyikavichik welcomed the investment while highlighting that much more is needed in their communities where the housing needs are at a critical level, and infrastructure needs alone could cost $100 million. Another $42 million will be invested in Tłı̨chǫ communities, where Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty says 35% of homes are in need of major repairs. The investments are part of the federal government’s Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund.
- Nunavut’s budget included a focus on housing investments
The Nunavut government tabled its 2022-2023 budget which includes an increased amount for housing developments, as the government aims to build 1,000 new units over the next four years. The government also indicated that it is open to using some of its surplus to tackle Nunavut’s housing shortage, and that plans are underway to possibly increase spending on housing incrementally during the government’s mandate.
- Minister asked for increased and more flexible federal funding for northern housing
The Minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation and homelessness, Paulie Chinna, spoke at the federal government’s Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs. The Minister asked the Committee to consider various policies to support housing in northern Canada, including multi-year capital funding for new public housing, continued operational funding for public housing, and allowing local and territorial governments to have more control over how federal funds are spent.
- New federal funding for affordable housing in Nunavut announced
The federal government announced an investment of $45 million through the Rapid Housing Initiative to build 101 affordable homes across Iqaluit, Sanirajak, Kimmirut, Naujaat, Kugaaruk and Pond Inlet. The announcement followed a plea from Premier P.J. Akeeagok in January 2022, who noted that Nunavut needs 3,500 new affordable homes to help address the housing crisis.
- The City of Whitehorse considered setting up a new committee to help tackle its housing shortage
Whitehorse city council voted during the first week of March on a motion to establish a new Housing and Land Development Advisory Committee to address the city’s housing shortage. The committee will make recommendations to City Council on how to address roadblocks and opportunities for new housing developments, gaps in market and non-market rentals, and changes to policies and bylaws. The committee would be comprised of people from the construction industry, First Nations governments, and the wider community.
- Nunavut leaders called for housing solutions to curb COVID-19 and Tuberculosis outbreaks
Premier P.J. Akeeagok said that overcrowding and a lack of adequate housing are contributing to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in communities across Nunavut. Some areas of the territory were also battling a tuberculosis outbreak, which the Mayor of Pangnirtung, Eric Lawlor, also attributed to the lack of adequate housing. The Premier said that housing is the top priority for the territory, and called for urgent action to find short-term and long-term solutions to address the housing crisis.
- Federal Housing Advocate explored systemic housing issues in Northern visit