Removing barriers to build more homes, faster in Guelph, Ontario
We know people have faced significant challenges right across the country in terms of housing and, as a government, we’ve stepped up over the past many, many years with a National Housing Strategy that helped lead towards the investments that built this place. Our partnerships on initiatives like Reaching Home and combatting homelessness, which we made significant investments and increases to over the past years, are all part of understanding that housing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many different things and measures that we’ve put forward to support on housing: whether it’s a first-time home buyers savings account that has allowed hundreds of thousands of families to save up for a down payment in their first home; whether it’s initiatives like the Rapid Housing Strategy that converted homes and created homes quickly during the pandemic and beyond; or whether it’s initiatives like the Reaching Home program to combat homelessness or the Housing Accelerator.
But the Housing Accelerator is a particular program that really came together because we listened and we looked at, even with all the investments we’ve been making over the past years in housing, there was a need to do more. So, we sat down with community leaders and mayors like Cam right across the country to talk about what the barriers were, why wasn’t Canada building enough housing quickly for our growing population? And it came down to, obviously, many, many different factors. There was a need for greater densification, there’s a need for ability to shift zoning more rapidly, there is a need to look at red tape and how we can accelerate processes within municipal structures, and all that needed investments and support so that municipalities and councils could actually tackle the big changes, the structural changes, in processes and zoning and densification that would lead to unlocking the housing needs that we had to meet in the coming years.
So, that’s where we put forward a $4-billion Housing Accelerator Fund to do just that. And we have been working with now 20 cities across the country that have signed the Housing Accelerator agreements that reward cities that have been forward thinking, ambitious, willing to challenge the way things used to be done, willing to challenge NIMBYism, and get things done to grow communities and to meet the needs of the future. And that’s exactly what this has been about.
The Housing Accelerator Fund is there to create more houses faster all across the country. We were able to address the densification issues, the zoning issues, and the bureaucracy that was slowing processes down, all kinds of issues that municipalities were facing in terms of building homes faster. And with this $4-billion investment across the country, we were able to, and we will unlock hundreds of thousands of new units over the next few years.
Here in Guelph, we’re talking about 750 new units, minimum, over the coming couple, few years, and over the next 10 years, close to 10,000 new units that we can project. But, the reality is, as we change the way things are built in communities like this, right across the country, we get to see more and more unlocked in meaningful ways to meet the challenges of the future. And that’s what this is all about: recognizing that partnerships across orders of government, leaning on ambitious and visionary local leaders, from municipal leaders like Cam to all the great community organizations who’ve been working, particularly here in Guelph, for decades to solve some really challenging and persistent problems faced by so many citizens. This is what it’s all about: it’s getting things done in concrete ways that are going to help people.
That is our commitment to Canadians: to recognize that, yes, we are going through some difficult times around the world and here in Canada, but we have solutions. When we work together, when we collaborate, when we make the targeted and needed investments to unlock processes and the growth we need, we will be … we will continue to build a better country for everyone.
We know that the promise of Canada is under threat, that promise that every generation can stand on the shoulders of generations before and succeed even more, well, people are worried that that might not hold. What we’re focusing on is securing that promise of Canada, making sure that we see the best possible future for next generations while we build a strong economy that works for all Canadians at the same time.
Canada is the best country in the world. We’re going to keep working together to make it even better.