August 28, 2019

OTTAWA – Eight weeks from the federal election, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is calling on all parties to commit to boosting access to housing for low-income Canadians, while also tackling the broader and growing disconnect between rents, home prices and incomes.

“Right across this country, Canadians are gripped by a housing crisis, and we’re looking for clear commitments from every national party to continue to tackle it,” said FCM President Bill Karsten. “As local leaders, we’re on the front lines of people’s struggles to find decent housing they can afford, and we’re making the most of our limited tools to respond. But if we’re going to build a brighter housing future, then continued federal leadership is absolutely critical.”

When the federal government launched a national housing strategy in 2017, it was shaped by FCM proposals to repair and grow the supply of social and affordable housing. Now we’re calling on all parties to commit to maintaining that strategy’s priorities and funding levels, while addressing key gaps. That includes building new social and affordable housing for Indigenous households in cities and communities, as well as supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness rooted in mental illness, substance use and other challenges.

“After decades of municipal advocacy, the federal re-engagement on affordable housing has been a breakthrough for low-income Canadians. We need that leadership to continue, and we need it to grow to address some important gaps,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, who chairs FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus. “We’re also ready to work with all national parties to tackle the wider disconnect between rents, home prices, and income levels—so everyone can find decent housing they can afford.”

FCM is proposing new responses to that broader affordability challenge. Those include steps to keep lower-cost housing on rental markets, and to help seniors age safely in their own homes with affordable upgrades—especially in rural communities. A new Affordability Indicator would offer data-driven insights into the commuting trade-offs people make to access housing they can afford. FCM is also proposing a new forum where orders of government would join forces to tackle complex forces driving unaffordability—from speculation to short-term rentals and beyond. 

“Housing is the bedrock of livable communities we’re striving to build—where people want to work, contribute, raise their families and start businesses. This election is about building better lives, and that starts with ensuring that the Canadians we all serve can find a decent, affordable place to call home,” said Karsten.

Contact:  FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395,

Backgrounder: Election 2019: Housing affordability

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