Removing barriers to build more homes, faster in Waterloo
Thank you, Bardish for your words, but also for your tremendous leadership here in Waterloo and for being such a strong advocate for strengthening diverse, affordable communities like this. It's really, really great to see you always. I want to thank Tim and Val and Bryan as well for being here to be such strong voices for the region in Ottawa, talking about how we're all going to work together to meet the very significant challenges that the world tends to be throwing at us in so many ways, but also that we know Canadians, as we have so many times in the past, can overcome.
And one of the key ways of doing that is by working in partnership, which is why I'm so glad to be here with two old friends, Karen-… friends I've had for a very long time !
Karen Redman, chair of Waterloo Region, who of course, we served together in Ottawa in my very beginnings as a baby politician. And Dorothy McCabe, who's a dear friend as well, who has been committed to this community and this region. Thank you for all your leadership as mayor and thank you for making this announcement we're making today possible.
We know that for all the investments we've made over the past many years, we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars here in the Waterloo region that have led to over 8000 repaired, refurbished, subsidized or new homes that the federal government has contributed in this region, there's so much more to do. And that's why in the fall, we launched the Housing Accelerator. What it is, is an ability to work specifically and directly with ambitious municipalities that want to solve the challenges of how to build more homes faster, to do exactly that.
So, today we're announcing a $22 million Housing Accelerator investment for the city of Waterloo that will unlock 650 homes in the coming years and over 15,000 homes over the next decade. And it happens by really deliberately accelerating some of the various processes and barriers, whether it's increased densification, where Dorothy, you really stepped up in terms of four units and four storeys as of right. As we move forward on faster permitting, as we move forward on emphasizing affordable housing, as we look at accelerating the use of public spaces, these are all things that are reducing the barriers that exist to meeting the need in growing regions like KW. So, I'm really, really happy to be here to highlight that we are here because the region has been so ambitious about tackling the challenges and the opportunities that come with growth.
The city of Kitchener has already signed its Accelerator agreement, and today, with Waterloo, we’re very pleased to demonstrate this region’s leadership once again. We want to build more housing faster, and this is precisely the type of partnership that delivers on that front. But we’re working on many levels, not just the Housing Accelerator; we’re here in a building that will be welcoming residents, seniors, in a few weeks’ time, and for which the government has facilitated an investment of $33 million to make this seniors’ centre a reality.
We're here in Parkwood Seniors Community where $33 million worth of federal funding has facilitated the creation of this extraordinary solution. So, it's not just about making announcements today for the coming years and all the units that are going to be built here across Waterloo; it's about recognizing that investments we made a few years ago are delivering for seniors, in this case, right now in the coming weeks. That's the work we're doing and that we do because we work in true partnership with municipal and provincial leaders to deliver for people in these complex and challenging times.
Of course, there's lots more that we are doing, whether it's cutting child care fees in half across the country while at the same time pushing on the provinces to create more spaces and train up and support more early childhood educators. Whether it's focusing on the student population where we know KW has an extraordinary resource and richness in students, well, we're removing the interest from student loans, we're investing in greater supports for them as well. We're moving forward on stabilizing grocery prices. We're moving forward on dental care. Young people, kids who couldn't afford to go to the dentist last year, 400,000 of them have been able to get dental services, many for the very first time. And as of the beginning of this year, we've now had 400,000 seniors sign up for our dental care program with more being able to sign up every week as the age ranges lower so we can get all seniors covered by the summer.
These are the things that we're stepping up concretely on, so that Canadians can see the ambition, the optimism and the opportunity that exists all around them in this extraordinary country.
We recognize that, yes, citizens are facing an immense number of challenges, but that’s why the government is here to invest, to work each day, to deliver for them, in partnership, with all the determination that reflects the ambitions of Canadians.
We're going to continue working hard every single day with even more programs, even more solutions, as we create good jobs and careers in a greener economy, as we respond to the challenges Canadians are facing now, and as we continue to contribute every day to continuing to keep Canada the very best country in the world.