November 21, 2023
Today the federal government released their 2023 Fall Economic Statement. Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) were pleased to see the creation of new programs that will fund the building of new rental units and support the building of affordable housing.
The newly announced Apartment Construction Loan Program will commit $15 billion over 10 years for low interest loans to build 30,000 rental housing units across Canada via CMHC. This combined with the commitment to removing the federal portion of the HST on purpose built rentals, will help to provide the rental units that are desperately needed in many Ontario municipalities.
OBCM was also pleased to see the creation of the Affordable Housing Fund that will commit $1 billion to enable the build of affordable housing. We look forward to hearing more details on how this fund will help to address housing affordability in Ontario’s biggest cities as we work together to ensure that our communities include more affordable housing options.
In Ontario municipalities own and manage the majority of public infrastructure including roads, bridges, water systems, transit, buildings and recreational facilities. We are encouraged by the creation of the Department of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities that will improve housing outcomes and enhance public infrastructure. We look forward to learning more about this new department and how they can work with municipalities to create complete communities.
OBCM does note that the issue of a new municipal fiscal framework was not mentioned in today’s statement. Along with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), we have been asking both the federal provincial governments to work together with the municipal sector on a new long term, sustainable funding program for municipalities.
We are also disappointed to see no new funding announced for the growing homelessness crisis in our cities, especially for refugees and asylum claimants. Our cities and regions are experiencing an unprecedented number of unhoused refugees and asylum claimants in our shelters, and urgent funding is needed as we head into the colder winter months. We also continue to call for additional funding for our local homeless population who require mental health support and wrap around services to provide them with the care they need. Earlier this year, OBCM adopted our Health and Homelessness Strategy which aims to bring together all levels of government along with local health partners, service providers, emergency services and others to address this unprecedented health crisis. We will continue to advocate on these important priorities.
“Ontario’s Big City Mayors are pleased to see the federal government’s commitment to providing funding for more rental and affordable housing units, to help address the housing crisis in Ontario,” said Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington and Chair of OBCM. “We look forward to working with the government to address a new municipal fiscal framework that can provide municipalities with the funding we need to build complete communities.”
About Ontario’s Big City Mayors
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM), formerly known as the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, includes mayors of 29 single and lower-tier cities with a population of 100,000 or more, who collectively represent nearly 70 percent of Ontario’s population. OBCM advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, Chair Michelle Baker, Executive Director