Non-profit and private sectors join forces to address Canada’s rental housing crisis

OTTAWA, Aug. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In an effort to restore affordability, build a healthy rental housing system and protect Canada’s most vulnerable residents at risk of experiencing homelessness, a group of Canadian housing sector organizations – non-profit and for-profit housing providers, developers, and investors – came together at a Roundtable to create The National Housing Accord: A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis.

The Roundtable’s 10-point plan outlines a blueprint to restoring affordability in the rental housing system, by creating at least two million new affordable and market purpose-built rental units in the next seven years, supporting the growth of non-profit housing and providing immediate protection to those most in need.

Our plan outlines a path to building two million rental units in less than a decade, effectively tripling the rate of home building. This is an achievable goal, with robust, urgent and immediate federal action, that the federal government could begin implementing in the upcoming fall economic statement.

This report outlines the roadmap for the federal government to create the conditions for massive private investment in rental housing construction and to ramp up federal investment in deeply affordable, co-op and supportive housing, as well as to provide immediate support for Canadians at risk of and experiencing homelessness.

Proposals include:

  • Federal funding for deeply affordable housing, co-operative housing, and supportive housing, along with seniors’ housing and student residences, and doubling the relative share of non-market community housing;
  • Reforming the National Building Code; 
  • Eliminating the GST/HST and changing capital cost allowance provisions on new purpose-built rental housing to incentivize construction;
  • Creating property acquisition programs for non-profit housing providers to help purchase existing rental housing projects and hotels, and facilitate office-to-residential conversions; 
  • Creating a Homelessness Prevention and Housing Benefit to provide immediate support for people at risk of homelessness;
  • Reforming the Canada Housing Benefit to better support individuals and families with the greatest housing needs; and
  • Providing low-cost, long-term fixed-rate financing for constructing and upgrading purpose-built rental housing.

The National Housing Roundtable is calling on the federal government to work with all orders of government, along with builders, developers, non-profits, and the higher education sector to urgently implement its recommendations. It also encourages all political parties to support and agree to a bi-partisan policy accord to provide confidence to investors and the housing market.

The National Housing Accord was designed by industry leaders from across the housing spectrum and was brought together by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and REALPAC and was facilitated by the PLACE Centre at the Smart Prosperity Institute.


“Homelessness is driven by the high cost of rent and a lack of affordable housing. Ending homelessness and achieving the right to housing requires a healthy rental housing market and supply of deeply affordable and supportive housing that does not exist today.

This is a solvable problem, but the challenge we face is too big for government alone – we need government, investors, the private and the non-profit sectors working together. The housing sector is ready to step up, but we need the federal government to join us.” 

– Tim Richter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness 

“Rents have been increasing faster than inflation across much of Canada, as the population of renters grows faster than the stock of rental housing. To house a growing population, to restore affordability, and allow workers to live in the communities in which they work, we need a substantial increase in the supply of purpose-built rental units. The National Housing Accord provides the federal government with an ambitious but achievable blueprint to create the housing Canada desperately needs.” 

– Dr. Mike Moffatt, Founding Director, PLACE Centre at the Smart Prosperity Institute

“The purpose-built rental housing sector in Canada continues to face major challenges responding to depreciating buildings, high inflation, and dramatically increased demand. Governments, for-profit and not-for-profit housing providers must come together to increase supply at all levels, from market rentals to social and supportive housing. That’s why we brought together this team of experts to put pen to paper and come up with a comprehensive set of realistic and immediately actionable solutions that can put Canada back on the path to the right to adequate housing for all.”

– Michael Brooks, Chief Executive Officer, REALPAC 

“Kindred Works is reimaging rental housing across Canada, building obtainable rental homes, and gathering spaces where people, families and groups can come together safely, and securely. We are doing this because we, too, recognize the profound need in this country for more rental housing. The National Housing Accord: A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis, which we contributed to and are pleased to support, addresses the issues affecting rental housing in a practical and achievable way. Its 10 recommendations to government are common sense and will make an immediate difference, especially with all sectors in the rental housing sector working together.

– Tim Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Kindred Works

“Canada needs population growth to flourish. Although we have been very successful over the past several years at growing our population, we have failed at increasing the rate of housing production needed to meet demand and to restore affordability. There is no simple solution to create affordability. It will require multiple levels of government and the private sector to work in a coordinated fashion to be successful. Let’s get going.”

– Dan Dixon, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, The Minto Group

“The housing crisis is pervasive – affecting small and large communities in every province and territory. As the national voice of the community housing sector, CHRA and our members are ready to work on a “Team Canada” approach to create an industrial strategy that unlocks housing supply and ensures greater affordability. Non-profit and co-op housing is a fundamental part of the solution, and we are ready to scale up our response in partnership with government and private industry.”

– Ray Sullivan, Executive Director, Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

“The federal government needs to change its targets, policies, and taxation settings if it is going to scale up the affordable housing that Canadians so desperately need. This report, arising from a big tent coalition of private and non-profit developers along with researchers, develops an agenda to address homelessness, core housing need, and moderate-income rental affordability. We need to scale up well-located social housing and market rental and the federal government can and must take the lead on this critical infrastructure provision.”

– Carolyn Whitzman, Expert Advisor, Housing Assessment Resource Tools project, University of British Columbia

Quick facts

  • According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, for each of the past 13 years, the average monthly rent on a 1-bedroom apartment has increased at or above Canada’s 2 per cent inflation target.
  • To restore affordability to Canada’s housing market, 5.8 million homes must be built in the next seven years, roughly two million being purpose-built rental units.
  • Most of Canada’s existing purpose-built rental stock is over forty years old.

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Daniele Medlej