Increasing Canada’s Supply of Affordable Housing is Within Reach, but Requires Collaboration by all Levels of Government

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February 2, 2023

Canada is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. Compared to other G7 nations, Canada has the lowest number of housing units per capita overall – this has contributed to a housing shortage, which in turn has driven up rental prices across the country. Despite policy momentum and investment in affordable housing in recent years by all levels of government, the number of Canadian households living in housing that is unaffordable or inadequate for their needs is high.

CSA Public Policy Centre‘s new report, Building Together: A Collaborative Approach to Delivering More Affordable Housing, highlights how greater intergovernmental collaboration can help to better align policies and increase the supply of affordable rental housing for low-income Canadians in need. The report stresses that to address this affordable housing crisis, federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government must work together to accelerate and preserve housing supply.

“Access to safe, affordable housing is a human right,” says Sunil Johal, Vice President, Public Policy at CSA Group. “To ensure that everyone has a place to call home, the way we approach the affordable housing crisis needs to be rethought, replacing fragmented and short-term solutions with long-term, coordinated commitments by all levels of government.”

With a focus on rental housing, the report outlines the key issues that cause governments at all levels to miss important opportunities, work on misaligned priorities, and ultimately deliver fewer affordable housing options.

With these issues outlined, the report presents five recommendations for enhancing intergovernmental collaboration to stimulate a greater supply of affordable rental housing, including:

  1. Applying a consistent, income-based, national definition of affordable housing
  2. Increasing and preserving affordable housing through holistic acquisition strategies
  3. Maximizing the impact of inclusionary zoning
  4. Making it easier for non-profit developers to build
  5. Launching a trilateral mechanism to support strategic housing collaboration

“The affordable housing Canadians need will not materialize without each level of government working towards shared goals,” Johal added.

Visit CSA Group’s website to download Building Together: A Collaborative Approach to Delivering More Affordable Housing and to learn more about the CSA Public Policy Centre.

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