Resulting in an acute shortage of affordable rental units across the country. The crisis is particularly severe in Toronto Centre, where 66 percent of residents are renters – double the national average – and rents have skyrocketed. There are currently 87,000 households on the waiting list for subsidized housing in downtown Toronto.
Yet despite the shameful conditions faced by so many people, the federal government is cutting its limited support for social housing. Over the next five years, $500 million is set to be cut from current programs – including the elimination of long-standing funding for co-operative housing, which has served as a successful model for affordable housing. These cuts will exacerbate already unacceptable levels of poverty and homelessness in the riding. .
While the federal government provides generous housing support for affluent Canadians (through the tax exemption for capital gains on principal residences), it is unwilling to provide even basic housing support for many of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens.
Canada is now virtually the only country in the developed world without a national housing plan. We used to have one, but it was cut back by the Conservatives in the 1980s and then eliminated by the Liberals in the 1990s. Since then, there have been temporary injections of federal money, but funding has never been restored to pre-1990s levels.
The NDP has been alone in consistently pushing for a national housing strategy, with commitments for stable, long-term federal funding..