With the provincial election wrapping up in a week (June 2), the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and its provincial counterpart, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), are also concluding the “Cut the **** and #BuildMoreHomes” campaign (which you can find on all social media channels and on the OntarioBuildMoreHomes.ca website).
We launched this campaign because, no matter your political leanings, building more homes is the solution to the current affordability and supply crisis that we can all get behind.
Housing supply has really only entered the public discussion over the past year or so, with calls from all three levels of government for more co-ordination of efforts to improve housing affordability.
Over the past few months, Ahmed Hussen (federal minister for Housing and Diversity and Inclusion), Steve Clark (minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in Ontario) and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, along with the Ontario Big City Mayors’ Caucus, have all acknowledged a mismatch between housing supply and demand.
So, finally, it seems that government at all levels agree that increasing housing supply is critical to improving housing affordability.
Not only that, but the provincial Liberal, NDP, PC and Green parties have all committed to the goal of building 1.5 million homes in Ontario over the next 10 years. This number comes from the recommendations of the recent provincial Housing Affordability Task Force report.
Over the past two weeks, GOHBA’s president and I have met with a number of local MPP candidates, all of whom have committed to supporting the increase in housing supply.
We’ve urged them to look at the recommendations from the Housing Affordability Task Force report as a roadmap to help solve the housing crisis with supply and a making a proper mix of housing available.
Not coincidentally, those solutions will also help the City of Ottawa achieve its housing goals, especially when it comes to intensification.
The MPP candidates we’ve spoken to appreciate the issues that the residential construction industry are running into at the municipal level, and that the provincial government needs to take a stronger role in the planning and development process.
Ottawa residents know the city is experiencing the impacts of an insufficient housing supply. Last year, Scotiabank released a report that put the shortage in sharp focus — the number of housing units per 1,000 residents in Ottawa-Gatineau decreased to 412 in 2020 from 421 in 2016.
A recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report observed that Ottawa’s population is growing faster than the rate at which new homes are being built. And, despite a 50-year high in new-home starts, housing supply is still the biggest barrier to affordability.
So let’s be blunt: Ottawa (and the whole of Ontario) is in a housing crisis.
Is the issue complicated and multi-factored? Of course it is. There’s no silver bullet that’s going to magically fix things. But increasing housing supply is the intrinsic first step to addressing the housing crisis.
Every day that passes costs more families the opportunity to find a place to call home. Everywhere you go now there are stories of people and families with good jobs who can’t afford a home. You know them.
You know a couple stuck in an apartment too small for their growing family. You know a young person who can’t make a down payment, can’t get a gift from their parents, and doesn’t want to move away from their family. You know someone who can’t move out of their parents’ home or has been forced to move back in with them.
Across Ontario there are hundreds of thousands of people and families who are falling behind due to the housing shortage.
You can demand that parties and candidates fix this crisis by building more homes.
This is a housing supply shortage. We can’t regulate our way out. We can’t tax our way out. We need to build our way out.
So, build with your ballot.
Vote to intensify neighbourhoods and build new communities. Vote to Cut the **** and build your next home.
We’re asking all politicians to Cut the TAPE. Cut the WAIT. Cut the BULL.
Cut the **** and #BuildMoreHomes.
Visit ontariobuildmorehomes.ca for more info and to demand action.