Municipal study sees looming housing problem, urges Ottawa to stay engaged

The country has a looming housing problem that is going to require action from all levels of government, according to a new report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

OTTAWA — The country has a looming housing problem that is going to require action from all levels of government, according to a new report from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The study says the long, steady decline in federal subsidies for social housing has left provinces, territories and municipalities struggling against market forces that are making it increasingly difficult for low- and modest-income renters.

“With 850,000 lower-rent units lost in the last decade, our rental sector is ill prepared for any downturn in the housing market,” Brad Woodside, the president of the FCM, says in the introduction to the study.

“One in five renters pays more than 50 per cent of their income on housing.”

The report notes that existing social housing stock was created under a partnership involving all orders of government, but as Ottawa unilaterally opts out of renewal agreements, cash-strapped provinces and cities are unable to properly maintain the properties.

Housing price increases that have far outstripped earnings and the switch to higher priced condominium rentals have also made it more difficult for many people to get a foothold.

While a third of households in Canada rent, just 11 per cent of housing starts since 1996 have been built as rental units.

“The time has come for a course correction within Canada’s housing system,” says the study written by Steve Pomeroy, a research associate at Carleton University’s Centre for Urban Research and Education.

While the federal government still spends $1.7 billion annually on housing, federal funding as a share of the country’s economy as measured by GDP has fallen 40 per cent since 1989.

Insecure housing brings with it costs that rebound throughout the labour market and the economy, says the study.

The study proposes federal tax credits be used to stimulate the construction of new affordable rental units; that Ottawa commit to maintain and make permanent its current level of funding; and that a national strategy on homelessness and affordable housing be made permanent.

Just Posted

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

The RDC Queens picked up an extra special victory on home ice… Continue reading

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Migrant caravan swells to 5,000, resumes advance toward US

CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico — Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the… Continue reading

“I don’t feel real”: Mental stress mounting after Michael

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Amy Cross has a hard time explaining the… Continue reading

Toronto residents set to vote Monday on the next four years of civic leaders

Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when… Continue reading

Former PQ minister Lise Payette remembered as role model for female politicians

MONTREAL — Members from across Quebec’s political spectrum gathered at a downtown… Continue reading

Voters head to polls for BC municipal elections today, some complain of long lines

VANCOUVER — Voters in British Columbia are heading to the polls today… Continue reading

Kennedy Stewart named mayor of Vancouver; one of several B.C. turnovers

VANCOUVER — Former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart has won a neck-and-neck… Continue reading

‘In our bloodline:’ Land-based learning links curriculum with Indigenous culture

REGINA — A school day for six-year-old Hunter Sasakamoose can start with… Continue reading

‘Stupid’ law preventing Canada’s re-engagement with Iran: retired envoy

OTTAWA — The real reason the Liberal government hasn’t been able to… Continue reading

Most Read