How to tackle the housing crisis in Canada’s cities

Canada is facing a serious housing crisis. Home prices are soaring out of reach in many cities. One in five renters spends more than half their income on housing. 

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John Tory is Mayor of Toronto. Don Iveson is Mayor of Edmonton and chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Canada is facing a serious housing crisis. Home prices are soaring out of reach in many cities. One in five renters spends more than half their income on housing. Emergency shelter occupancy rates are pushing 90 per cent.And 1.5 million Canadians can’t find safe, decent housing they can afford.

Housing is less affordable at every income level and that’s having serious impacts on our nation’s prosperity, its productivity and its identity as a place of equal opportunity and inclusion.

For years, cities have shown local leadership when it comes to housing. Many have invested heavily, taken on the role of social housing providers and developed incentives to create more affordable rentals. And while you can expect more work to be done locally, this national issue urgently requires national action.

The federal government has taken some important steps in its first budget, dedicating funding from Phase 1 of its Social Infrastructure Fund to support much needed capital repair work on social housing. It also launched consultations to develop a long-awaited national housing strategy.

Along with our fellow big city mayors, we’ll meet on Friday with housing ministers representing Canadian and Ontario governments at the Toronto Housing Summit.

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