Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Affordable housing: the feds threaten Ontario to withhold 357 ;M$ in funding

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Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra (left ), and the Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, Sean Fraser.

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In a letter sent Thursday, the federal housing minister issues an ultimatum to Ontario.

Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities in Ottawa, speaks to his provincial counterpart, Paul Calandra. He warns the Ford government that it has until Friday evening to submit a new action plan on affordable housing, otherwise the $357 million promised by Ottawa could be withheld. source.

If Ontario does not provide a revised plan demonstrating how it intends to achieve its housing goals under the agreement, the province will not receive the $357 million earmarked for affordable housing in Ontario. the part of the federal government, we read.

In a response letter, Minister Calandra affirms that Minister Fraser's threats are unacceptable. Mr. Calandra also specifies that these funds are those of the National Housing Strategy.

According to the Ontario government's website (New window), provinces and territories implement and share the costs of certain initiatives related to the [National Housing Strategy], and the federal government provides funding for them. initiatives that they finance and implement.

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Both letters were obtained by Radio-Canada.

Mr. Fraser states in his letter that the federal government has already been waiting for a new action plan on the construction of affordable housing from the province for more than a year. No further extension is possible. My officials have repeatedly pushed back the deadline for submitting a new action plan. If Ontario does not submit a revised plan by the end of the day on March 22 – giving us time to analyze and respond before the March 31 deadline – bilateral funding will be cut off, and the impact on Ontarians in need of housing will be devastating.

Fraser says Ontario's plan for building affordable housing is so inadequate the federal government can't do anything else. This plan shows virtually no progress towards meeting the affordable housing expansion target and proposes to complete only 1,184 of the 19,660 required housing units by the end of the 2024-2025 period. This leaves 94% of the target to be achieved in the last three years of the agreement, which is not realistic, the letter reads.

Ontario is hopelessly lagging behind all other provinces and territories.

A quote from Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

However, in an undated response letter, Minister Calandra states: It is unacceptable that you choose to threaten the most vulnerable with ;a reduction of [$357 million].

The Ontario minister makes direct reference to Canada's National Housing Strategy. In his letter, he explains how the Ontario government came to make the proposals contained in its plan. He insists on the fact that the Ontario context is very different from the rest of the country.

Minister Calandra does not specify whether he had postponed Ottawa an updated version of its action plan before the deadline.

More details to come

With information from Mathieu Simard

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