As Canada grapples with a nationwide housing crisis, the focus on affordability has reached a critical juncture. While federal and provincial governments often take the spotlight in addressing the challenge, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal role that local governments play in the creation of more affordable housing stock. Local governments possess an array of tools that can influence housing costs, including zoning regulations, development charges, density bonuses, and property taxes.
In an effort to empower municipalities across Canada, Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria (CSPC) is launching the “Local Government Levers for Housing Affordability” toolkit with funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
The toolkit provides a comprehensive overview of various tools and their municipal context, enabling local governments to make informed decisions. The toolkit highlights key tools and examples of policies and practices which are intended to make a difference in housing affordability, while addressing common challenges and proposing practical solutions. The toolkit also showcases illustrative scenarios that highlight successes in implementing these tools across diverse municipal contexts and addressing varying degrees of housing needs and affordability from coast to coast.
Municipalities are at the forefront of the affordability challenges facing Canadian cities, and it is essential that they maximize all available avenues to improve housing availability and affordability. Unaffordability throughout our communities can drive individuals to seek more affordable living conditions elsewhere, resulting in labour shortages and stunted economic growth at a national level. Affordable housing is not just a social imperative but an economic necessity that supports business and individual prosperity, reinforcing local economies. We hope that by using this toolkit, local governments will be able to change their communities for the better, to become more affordable, prosperous, and inclusive.
The launch of this toolkit marks a significant step towards a more optimistic future for housing availability and affordability in Canada. By recognizing the vital role of municipalities and providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge, we can collectively address our housing crisis.
We encourage Local Governments to look into the CMHC's Housing Accelerator Fund which aims to fund initiatives to increase housing supply.
Published June 27, 2023
Khadoni Pitt Chambers, Research Coordinator
Aza Bryson-Bucci, Research Coordinator
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